MIAMI BEACH — AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland kicked off the 17th biennial convention of the giant labor federation today, urging union members to help chart a new course after the Reagan Administration leaves office.
"It is long past time for a new national course," Kirkland told an estimated 900 delegates gathered at the Fontainebleau Hotel. "It is time for a new and larger rally at the polls."
Kirkland welcomed the end of the Reagan era--an era he said was characterized by attempts to cut the social safety net--and looked ahead to the 1988 presidential election.
"Now we have a chance . . . to shred their political safety net," he said.
Kirkland, in a 50-minute keynote address opening the four-day convention, welcomed the International Brotherhood of Teamsters back into the federation and repeated an earlier vow to fight a possible federal attempt to take control of that union.