Afl-Cio President To Resign Union Officials Say Kirkland Will Step Down If Aide Agrees To Seek His Job

Lane Kirkland, the embattled president of the AFL-CIO, will step down if his top aide agrees to seek Kirkland’s job, a union official said Saturday.

But the official couldn’t say when Kirkland might step aside: “I have no sense of the timing.”

“We have no quarrel” with reports about Kirkland’s intentions, the AFL-CIO official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The pace of developments may pick up dramatically since dissident union leaders are expected to announce a slate of candidates to challenge Kirkland and his allies early this week.

Kirkland’s offer to retire, other union sources told The Associated Press, prompted his second in command, Secretary-Treasurer Thomas R. Donahue, to reconsider his decision last month to retire rather than join a movement to oust Kirkland.

Kirkland, 73, was poised to retire before rebel union leaders began pressuring him to step down. The pressure prompted him to seek re-election to a ninth two-year term at the helm of the 13.3-million-member labor federation.

The federation is slated to elect new officers at its convention in New York next October.

Various union presidents leading the dissident faction had appealed to Donahue to seek Kirkland’s job. When Donahue instead announced his own retirement, the opposition leaders went public and quickly claimed enough support from other union presidents to win the AFL-CIO presidency.

John Sweeney, president of the Service Employees International Union, is the opposition candidate most often mentioned to replace Kirkland.


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