Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan, angling to thaw his relations with organized labor, announced yesterday that next week he will go to Bal Harbour, Fla., where the AFL-CIO's Executive Council will be holding its winter meeting.
He has no invitation from AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland to address the labor federation's ruling body, he said. He has invitations from Thomas W. Gleason, president of the International Longshoremen's Association, and from New York building and construction trades officials, to a series of gatherings Tuesday and Wednesday.
Donovan conceded that his trip to Bal Harbour could appear to be a political end run around Kirkland. But he said, "I'll go anywhere, anytime" to improve communications with union officials.
Donovan also said yesterday during breakfast with reporters that he called Kirkland last week and scheduled lunch at the Labor Department with him soon after the Bal Harbour conclave.
During their 10-minute conversation, he said, they discussed the dilemma of dislocated workers and he agreed to seek increased job-training grants to the AFL-CIO and individual unions.
Although President Reagan has continued to voice confidence in Donovan, some key White House aides have pressed him to resign. Donovan has been at pains to show that he can be an asset and not a political liability in any Reagan run for reelection.
Relations between much of organized labor and the Reagan admininstration, particularly Donovan, have been frigid. Moreover, Donovan has had to spend time rehabilitating his image after being cleared of allegations concerning ties to organized crime figures.
In recent months he has publicized a series of meetings with some of the more receptive labor leaders. He has maintained a working relationship with some building trades officials, among others.
Kirkland has said repeatedly that organized labor's breach with the administration is not over personalities but over policies that have caused soaring unemployment, have cut government programs and have caused other problems for working people.
Donovan agreed that the chill is nothing personal. "I find him to be a bright and charming fellow," he said of Kirkland. He added, with a bit of humor at his own expense, "And word gets back to me that he finds me"--here Donovan pauses--"charming."
A spokesman for Kirkland, who is in Florida, said yesterday that any stepped-up contacts between the two are "not that big a thing ...."
Donovan said he believes Reagan will run again for the presidency, and "I believe I can help him in a very meaningful way, especially with the blue-collar workers ...."
Citing his origins in a "blue-collar town," the former New Jersey businessman said, "I'll go anywhere in this world to talk to blue-collar workers to convince them the reasons they voted for Ronald Reagan are valid."