Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about Labor Secretary William E. Brock's meeting with AFL-CIO executives incorrectly reported the amount that the Labor Department's Trade Adjustment Assistance program spends to aid workers dislocated by foreign competition. The program last spent $1 billion in 1980, and has been reduced to spending about $45 million per year.
Labor Secretary William E. Brock, in a move to improve the Reagan administration's ties to labor unions, met yesterday with the AFL-CIO's 35-member executive council and said later that he "actively sought their support . . . and participation in the development of department policies and policies of this administration."
But Brock's 90-minute closed session at AFL-CIO headquarters did little to diminish labor's criticisms. Federation President Lane Kirkland emerged from the meeting and delivered a sharp attack on what he called "a catalog of broken campaign promises and blind mismanagement of the nation's finances" in the administration's proposed budget cuts.
The Reagan administration also seems "to be regarding a continually increasing level of unemployment as normal," Kirkland said. Despite the current 7.3 percent "recession-level" jobless rate, "there seems to be no deep sense of concern," he said.
Brock's meeting with the union presidents and vice presidents -- the first such visit by a labor secretary in four years -- was described as highly cordial. It marked a departure from the bitter relations between organized labor and Brock's predecessor, Raymond J. Donovan, who resigned last month to face criminal fraud charges.
Sharp policy differences remain between labor and the Reagan administration over the proposed youth subminimum wage, trade policy, occupational safety and health laws and other issues. But Brock and AFL-CIO officials said they hope to open a dialogue that had virtually ceased in the first Reagan administration.
"I think they know my door is wide open," Brock said after the meeting. "Where we disagreed, we disagreed on the basis of fact, and not rhetoric." Brock said that although he differs with unions on various issues, he plans to be "an advocate for working people, in the Cabinet."
Brock told the union officials that the proposed $2.50-an-hour subminimum wage for teen-agers working in summer jobs is worth a "trial run." He said it could be scrapped if it fails to create substantial new youth employment, or if it results in problems such as firings of older workers.
But Kirkland said, "What's temporary in Washington can have a half-life of a good number of years."
Kirkland said that, despite Brock's "responsive" stance, it is too early to tell whether the Labor Department will change its "nice puppy-dog" approach under which it has agreed to scrap or curtail valuable programs at the request of Reagan budget-cutters, rather than fight to retain them.
He said union officials asked Brock to reevaluate the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which spends as much as $1 billion yearly for training and benefits to workers dislocated by foreign competition.