AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, longtime champion of working people, dies at 72

Aug 05, 2021

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO for the last 12 years, died today at the age of 72 from a heart attack, according to an AFL-CIO official.

The statement from AFL-CIO Communications Director Tim Schlittner reads: 

"The labor movement, the AFL-CIO and the nation lost a legend today. Rich Trumka devoted his life to working people, from his early days as president of the United Mine Workers of America to his unparalleled leadership as the voice of America's labor movement. He was a relentless champion of workers' rights, workplace safety, worker-centered trade, democracy and so much more. He was also a devoted father, grandfather, husband, brother, coach, colleague and friend. Rich was loved and beloved. Today, the 56 unions and 12.5 million members of the AFL-CIO mourn the passing of our fearless leader and commit to honoring his legacy with action. Standing on Rich's shoulders, we will pour everything we have into building an economy, society and democracy that lifts up every working family and community."

Iron Workers General President Eric Dean was saddened by the news and offered deepest and sincere condolences on behalf of the officers and members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.

General President Dean stated, "The labor movement lost a formidable and passionate leader today. Rich took over the helm of America's labor movement in trying times and has worked tirelessly for economic and social justice for working people across our nation. He stood with the Iron Workers, advocated for our causes and dedicated his life to protecting our livelihoods. The Iron Workers vow to continue his fight to represent and safeguard not only ironworkers, but all workers who do not have a voice on the job. We will proudly and passionately continue his lifelong work."

Trumka, a third-generation coal miner from Pennsylvania, began working in the mines at age 19, and became president of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 55 unions representing 12.5 million workers, in 2009.


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