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AFL-CIO'S KIRKLAND ISSUES STATEMENT ON PACKWOOD AMENDMENT

 AFL-CIO'S KIRKLAND ISSUES STATEMENT ON PACKWOOD AMENDMENT
 WASHINGTON, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland issued the following statement on the Packwood amendment to the Senate striker replacement bill:
 Workers go on strike as a last resort and for only one reason -- to get an agreement that puts them back to work.
 The peaceful resolution of labor disputes, rationality in the collective bargaining process and better labor-management relations have all been driving forces behind the AFL-CIO's efforts to win congressional approval of a ban on the permanent replacement of strikers. The use of permanent replacements undermines labor negotiations, prolongs disputes, costs experienced workers their jobs and destroys families, communities and sometimes even the employers themselves. No constructive economic purpose is served.
 The Packwood amendment to S. 55 gives labor and management the opportunity to affirm their commitment to peaceful industrial relations. We can support it.
 The amendment would allow the permanent replacement of strikers only when a union refuses to attempt to resolve the dispute peacefully through the fact-finding process. An employer would still be free to hire permanent replacements in cases where the union doesn't offer to submit disputed issues to a fact-finding procedure under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and in cases where the union rejects the fact-finding recommendations. Conversely, if the union does make such an offer and the employer refuses it, or if the employer rejects the fact- finding recommendations, the employer would be prohibited from hiring permanent replacements during the strike.
 Union members do not fear the fact-finding process. It is consistent with their goal of peaceably resolving disputes with their employers and thereby avoiding strikes.
 Employers who are sincerely interested in reaching agreement with their union workers will join us in urging the Senate to pass this measure and the president to sign it into law. Its passage would bring greater rationality to the collective bargaining process -- a goal that would benefit workers, employers and their communities alike.
 Throughout the debate in the House last year and in the Senate this year, the trade union movement has sought to prevent the firing of workers who exercise their right to strike -- a right supposedly guaranteed them under the law.
 And, we have argued, the law must be changed because too many employers no longer share our objective of reaching agreement. Instead, they have used a loophole in the law to line up replacement workers, force a strike and rid themselves of a union work force.
 That's not the way the collective bargaining process is supposed to work. Rather, it was designed to bring management and labor together for the purpose of reasoned discussion and the achievement of a mutually acceptable agreement.
 The Packwood proposal will enhance that process while advancing the goal of better labor-management cooperation and furthering the national economic interest.
 -0- 6/11/92
 /CONTACT: Rex Hardesty of the AFL-CIO, 202-637-5010/ CO: AFL-CIO ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: LEG


MH -- DC023 -- 9314 06/11/92 14:48 EDT
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Date:Jun 11, 1992
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