The AFL-CIO, whose unions have made a major effort to recruit more women members, named four men to its 35-member executive council today, angering many union officials who had lobbied for women candidates.
The federation, which also has sought to broaden minority participation, named its third black executive, former professional football player Gene Upshaw, president of the Federation of Professional Athletes.
Union officials who have urged the AFL-CIO to broaden its appeal to the fast-growing female work force called today's elections a setback. But most of them applauded the addition of Upshaw, an All-Pro offensive guard for the former Oakland Raiders who became more widely known for his leadership of the National Football League Players Association.
AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland, who was reelected unanimously to a fourth two-year term heading the 13 million-member labor federation, suffered a setback in his effort to name a woman candidate, Linda A. Puchala, 36, who is president of the 21,000-member Association of Flight Attendants.
Kirkland's effort was thwarted by larger unions, primarily in the building trades, that sought to maintain slots that had become open because of retirements.
The membership of the AFL-CIO is roughly 30 percent female and20 percent minority and, while both percentages are growing, the federation's governing body is nearly 90 percent white male.
Puchala, the only female president among the 96 AFL-CIO unions, lost her strong election bid, sources said, partly because larger unions sought spots on the council and because her election would have angered the larger, more influential Air Line Pilots Association, whose president, Henry Duffy, is not a council member.
Women had never served on AFL-CIO governing boards until 1980, when Kirkland succeeding in altering the rules to allow the election of candidates who are not union presidents. That allowed the election of the first women: Joyce Miller, vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers, in 1980, and Barbara Hutchinson, head of the women's department of the American Federation of Government Employees, in 1981.
"It's a real disappointment to women, and it's gross. They stand up there talking about reaching out to women, and it will still be almost all male faces doing the talking," said a delegate from the predominantly female American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Several delegates spoke privately of their anger, but asked not to be identified. Hutchinson and Miller, who have lobbied strongly for more women on the council, denied that today's elections were a setback.
Following the vote, Kirkland said: "There were quite a few candidates. I wish we could have accommodated all of them. But we have considerable turnover on the council, and there will be other chances."
Upshaw's nomination had been opposed by several executives who argued that his union was too small to merit a spot on the council. In an interview, Upshaw said: "The criteria should be leadership ability, not the size of your union or the color of your face."
A second black candidate, William Lucy, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' vice president and head of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, lost his bid.
The only other blacks on the council are Hutchinson and Frederick O'Neal, president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America.
The other members elected today, who become AFL-CIO vice presidents, are: Robert A. Georgine, head of the federation's building trades department; Larry A. Dugan, president of the 330,000-member Operating Engineers, and Milan Stone, president of the 100,000-member United Rubber Workers.