AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, one in all at present’s most high-profile union leaders, died Thursday at age 72, the union mentioned.
Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer made the preliminary announcement Thursday on the Senate ground.
The AFL-CIO described him as a “legend” and a “relentless champion of staff’ rights, office security, worker-centered commerce, democracy and a lot extra.”
Trumka, who grew up in Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, led one of many largest labor unions within the nation since 2009 when he was elected to the place. He attended Penn State and Villanova College regulation faculty.
An ally of President Biden and former President Barack Obama, Trumka labored with former President Donald Trump on crafting the U.S. Mexico Canada Settlement and ultimately endorsed the rewrite of the North American Free Commerce Settlement.
“The working folks of America have misplaced a fierce warrior at a time after we wanted him probably the most,” an emotional Schumer mentioned. “Simply yesterday, Wealthy was lending his help to the placing miners in Alabama.”
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Schumer mentioned Trumka embodied the working folks of America “in his veins and each atom of his physique.”
“He was them. Wealthy Trumka was the working folks of America. He by no means had any airs,” he mentioned earlier than taking a deep sigh.
The AFL-CIO has 12.5 million members.
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Trumka began his profession as a labor chief in 1982 after being elected president of the United Mine Staff of America. Below Trumka, the UMWA went on strike in opposition to Pennsylvania’s Pittston Coal Firm till the corporate reinstated well being care advantages for retirees, widows and disabled miners in 1990.
A couple of years later, Trumka rose to AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer earlier than being elected president in 2009.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., mourned Trumka in a press release.
“Wealthy’s story is the American story – he was the son and grandson of Italian and Polish immigrants and started his profession mining coal,” Manchin mentioned. “He by no means forgot the place he got here from. He devoted the remainder of his profession to preventing for America’s working women and men. He was a fierce advocate for working folks and a really respectable man.”
Fellow labor leaders additionally eulogized Trumka. UFCW Worldwide President Marc Perrone known as him a “large within the labor motion,” and American Federation of Academics President Randi Weingarten mentioned his loss of life is “an incredible loss for all the labor motion.”
Fox Information’ Marisa Schultz and Evie Fordham contributed to this report.