CALL IT MEGA-LABOR. IN AN effort to offset declining membership, the United Auto Workers, United Steelworkers, and International Association of Machinists plan to form a single, giant industrial union by 2000. The merger would create the country's largest labor union, with 1.7 million members and a $1.2 billion strike fund. The executive boards of the three unions have agreed to start merging departments and functions during the next five years, and members will vote to approve the move at conventions in 2000. Union officials say a merger would bring significant cost savings by axing overlapping departments, allowing them to devote more money and resources to membership drives.

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