WASHINGTON – Richard Trumka, the almighty president of the AFL-CIO labour union, has died astatine property 72, Democratic leaders said Thursday.
News of his decease was announced by President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trumka had been AFL-CIO president since 2009, aft serving arsenic the organization’s secretary-treasurer for 14 years.
“The moving radical of America person mislaid a fierce warrior astatine a clip erstwhile we needed him most,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.
Biden called Trumka “a adjacent friend” who was “more than the caput of AFL-CIO.” He apologized for showing up precocious to a gathering with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander civilian rights leaders, saying helium had conscionable learned Trumka had died.
Further details of Trumka’s decease were not instantly available. The AFL-CIO did not instantly instrumentality messages seeking comment.
Trumka oversaw a national with much than 12.5 cardinal members, according to the AFL-CIO’s website.
Eulogies rapidly poured retired from Democrats successful Congress.
“Richard Trumka dedicated his beingness to the labour question and the close to organize,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said successful a statement. “Richard’s enactment transcended a azygous movement, arsenic helium fought with rule and persistence to support the dignity of each person.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said helium was “heartbroken” to larn of the decease of his friend.
“Rich’s communicative is the American communicative — helium was the lad and grandson of Italian and Polish immigrants and began his vocation mining coal. He ne'er forgot wherever helium came from. He dedicated the remainder of his vocation to warring for America’s moving men and women,” Manchin said successful a statement.
A burly antheral with heavy eyebrows and a bushy mustache, Trumka was the lad and grandson of ember miners. He grew up successful the tiny southeast Pennsylvania municipality of Nemacolin, wherever helium worked arsenic a ember miner portion attending Penn State University.
A longtime labour leader, Trumka was elected successful 1982 astatine property 33 arsenic the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America.
There, helium led a palmy onslaught against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to debar paying into an industrywide wellness and pension fund, the union’s website said.
As AFL-CIO president, helium ushered successful a much assertive benignant of enactment and vowed to revive unions’ sagging rank rolls and pledged to marque the labour question entreaty to a caller procreation of workers who comprehend unions arsenic “only a grainy, faded representation from different time.”
“We request a unionism that makes consciousness to the adjacent procreation of young women and men who either don’t person the wealth to spell to assemblage oregon are astir penniless by the clip they travel out,” Trumka told hundreds of cheering delegates successful a code astatine the union's yearly normal successful 2009.
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