ALEXANDER E. BARKAN, 81, longtime head of the AFL-CIO's political action committee, died Thursday after a lengthy illness. In 1937, Mr. Barkan joined the staff of the Textile Workers Organizing Committee. After the AFL and the CIO merged in 1955, Mr. Barkan was appointed assistant director of the federation's Committee on Political Education, or COPE. He was appointed COPE director in 1963 by then AFL-CIO President George Meany, overseeing the powerful labor federation's millions of dollars worth of political contributions and channeling its manpower into political campaigns. He retired in 1980. COLETTE AUDRY, 84, a prize-winning novelist, screen writer and critic, died Saturday at Issy-les-Moulineaux east of Paris, her family reported. No cause of death was given. Ms. Audry won the 1962 Medicis Prize, a top French literary prize, for her autobiographical novel, Behind the Bathtub, and wide acclaim for her screenplay in the film The Battle for the Railway, a 1946 account of resistance to Nazi occupation by French rail workers. Ms. Audry taught letters at the prestigious Lycee Moliere in Paris and was an accomplished literary critic, especially on the works of philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. She ran as a Socialist candidate for the National Assembly in 1962 and 1967 and participated in the party's rebirth under Francois Mitterrand, serving on the party steering committee from 1971 to 1981.