AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland opened the union's centennial convention Monday with a colorful but devastating attack on the Reagan administration as a ''brilliant and tireless team, drawn from the service of avarice, that promised us a boom and brought us a bust,'' reports Monitor labor correspondent Ed Townsend.
Mr. Kirkland was interrupted 35 times by applause, laughter, and a standing ovation as he :
* Described President Reagan as an amiable and persuasive president who has shown ''a cold heart and a hard fist.''
* Attacked Paul Volcker as ''the high priest of monetarism at the Federal Reserve Board, who is grappling for flimsy alibis'' for the failures of the administration's economic program - ''a sure sign of the final bankruptcy of the monetary doctrine.''
* Mentioned Budget Director David Stockman's troubles: ''What provoked his candor one can only guess, but you don't have to be an old sailor to know what it means as the smartest rat on board heads for the hawsepipe'' (leading to the dock).
Mayor Edward Koch, New York Gov. Hugh Carey, and Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan joined Mr. Kirkland in calling for strong political action by unions in 1982 to turn the country away from ''today's tide of conservatism.''