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Gore Says Ban on Replacing of Strikers Planned

February 21, 1995|FRANK SWOBODA | THE WASHINGTON POST

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. — Vice President Al Gore told leaders of the AFL-CIO on Monday that the President will sign an executive order banning the use of replacement workers by federal contractors in labor strikes.

Gore announced the action at a closed-door meeting here with members of the federation's executive council. Both AFL-CIO and Clinton Administration officials said after the meeting that details of the order were still being worked out.

If issued, the executive order would apply to all Fortune 500 companies and to many other corporations, Administration officials said Monday.

Organized labor has failed to win passage of broader legislation banning the use of permanent replacement workers during strikes, and victory in a Republican-dominated Congress seems unlikely.

Administration officials said Monday that the proposed executive order banning the use of striker replacements would apply to companies with federal contracts of $100,000 or more and that the scope of the order is still under discussion.

The Administration wants to apply the ban to all work being done in a particular plant where federal contract work is being performed, rather than just work on the contract itself.

There is some question whether the President can legally take such action. The law permitting the use of permanent replacement workers was a result of a Supreme Court decision dating from the 1930s.

An Administration source said Monday that the order would be used to adjust the federal procurement process, not labor laws, to avoid a constitutional challenge.

Gore did not give a specific timetable for issuing the order.

Gore also told the labor leaders Monday that President Clinton would veto any legislation to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, which set prevailing wages for federal contracts in the construction and service industries, respectively.

He also said the President would veto pending legislation to repeal the current labor law ban on shop-floor committees unilaterally set up by employers. Labor law bans such cooperative groups unless employees are allowed to pick their own members.

In another matter, AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland, reported to be under pressure from some labor leaders to step down, declined Monday to discuss his future with the 83-union federation.

Asked if he would seek reelection, Kirkland responded, "I'll deal with that question in good season--as I normally do."

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