Labor Leaders Remember Richard Trumka, a Champion for Working People

Labor Leaders Remember Richard Trumka, a Champion for Working People

Richard Trumka (1949-2021)

Working people were shocked at the untimely passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He was a vibrant and energetic leader who never stopped fighting for working people, doing everything he could to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act until his last moments. The loss of Richard Trumka is devastating to the many who loved him and fought along with him on behalf of working people everywhere.

Leaders across the country have spoken about their memories and admiration for President Trumka and his long and storied life. Here are their words:

Liz Shuler, Acting President and Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO:

Our brother and leader, Rich Trumka, passed away last week at the age of 72. He was doing what he loved: spending time with his family. Rich cared deeply about working people. He wanted to create a better life for every single working person. He dedicated himself to that mission, and he never stopped pushing forward. He is a legend in the labor movement and will be remembered in every fight to better the lives of working people. He gave the labor movement everything he had, and so will we.

I know what we’re capable of, and I’m hopeful for the future. We can grow, inspire and experiment, harnessing our collective power to reach into workplaces all across this country. I believe in my bones the labor movement is the single most powerful vehicle for progress, and this is a moment for us to lead societal and cultural transformations. It’s time to leverage our power to bring women and people of color from the margins to the center at work, in our unions and in our economy. And we need to be the center of gravity for incubating new ideas that will unleash unprecedented union growth.

As we mourn the loss of Brother Rich, we must also come together to finish the work. We will pass the newly renamed Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. It’s what workers need and it’s what Rich would have wanted from us. We’ll take time to grieve, but we won’t slow down in our pursuit of a better future for all of America’s workers. We are going to get through this together.

Kate Shindle, President, Actors’ Equity Association:

Today we mourn the sudden loss of a remarkable leader. President Trumka lived his values and encouraged the entire labor movement to do the same. Every labor leader should aspire to champion the rights of workers as passionately as he did, while extending his hand in partnership to all who believe in our cause. In addition, he drew clear and important lines around associating with bigotry. The entirety of Actors’ Equity Association extends our sincere condolences to Rich’s loved ones, and we know his spirit will live on in our continued fight for the dignity and rights of all workers. Even as we digest this unexpected news, we must redouble our efforts to pass the PRO Act, which I hope will be a fitting way to honor President Trumka’s legacy.

Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA):

Our hearts are with the Trumka family, Rich’s beloved Mine Workers, and all of Labor. What an incredible loss for our movement. I believe Rich would echo the words of UMWA’s angel, Mother Jones: “Don’t mourn, organize!” We must honor Rich by uniting around his lifelong fight.

Everett Kelley, National President, AFGE:

Richard Trumka was an inspirational labor leader and a friend to workers everywhere—but he was a special friend to federal and D.C. government workers. Through every major fight our union has waged in recent decades, Richard Trumka was standing beside AFGE members, defiantly raising his fist in solidarity. During the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, he rallied all of labor to the steps of the White House to stand up for the 800,000 government workers who went weeks without a paycheck. And behind the scenes, he worked tirelessly to help us end a political standoff that was hurting working people. Richard Trumka was a fearless and peerless leader of our movement. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live forever in the hearts and minds of working people engaged in the struggle for dignity, fairness, and respect to which he dedicated his life. On behalf of the 700,000 federal and D.C. government workers we represent, I extend AFGE’s deepest condolences to his family, his union family, everyone at the AFL-CIO, and his many friends and admirers.

Lee Saunders, President, AFSCME:

We’ve lost one of the nation’s fiercest, most effective advocates for working people ever. From his earliest days working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, Rich has lived the values of the labor movement with the greatest passion and purpose. He has touched and improved so many lives.

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT):

Rich Trumka was our brother in the truest sense of the word. His sudden passing is a tremendous loss for the entire labor movement, and for working families across the country. From his first mining job in the late 60s, to joining the staff of the United Mine Workers of America and eventually becoming president, to his fierce and courageous leadership of the AFL-CIO for more than a decade, Rich fought his entire life for dignity and respect for American workers. He practiced what he preached, and he brought the voices of working people to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness with deep humility and an abiding belief in the power of collective action. President Trumka was a beloved colleague and friend, and his legacy will endure for generations. If you have to be in a war, you want to be in the trenches with Richard Trumka. Our hearts go out to Barbara, Richard Jr. and his entire family. May his memory be a blessing.

Ray Hair, International President, American Federation of Musicians (AFM):

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada is saddened to learn of the death of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today. Throughout his entire life, Rich Trumka fought hard to improve the lives of working people, not only in the United States, but around the world. AFM sends its most sincere condolences to President Trumka’s family, his friends, and his extended AFL-CIO family. We will honor his legacy by continuing the fight for the dignity and justice professional musicians deserve, and for all working people, everywhere.

Capt. Joe DePete, President, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA):

On behalf of the over 59,000 professional airline pilots of the Air Line Pilots Association, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the Trumka family as well as our AFL-CIO family. Rich was an incredible leader of the labor movement. He dedicated his life’s work to fiercely fighting for the rights of our nation’s workers and their families to ensure the dignity of their work and to improve their lives. We are proud to have worked alongside him, sharing his commitment to safety and protecting the rights of workers to collectively bargain. We will honor his memory by carrying on his legacy of union pride, solidarity and worker advocacy.

John Costa, International President, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU):

We are devastated to hear the news of the loss of our brother, friend and legendary labor leader Richard Trumka. When our International President Larry Hanley passed away, Rich was one of the first people to reach out, and when I came into office, he welcomed and counseled me.

Rich was a fighter, who never backed down from any challenge or battle. Born in the mines, he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a coal miner, then rose to lead the United Mine Workers of America, eventually becoming the top officer of the AFL-CIO.

For decades, Rich fought tirelessly to improve the lives of working people all over the world, and his legacy will be one of profound love for workers and the labor movement. He spoke often about the power of solidarity. He knew that the only way to achieve justice was together. Under his leadership, we have seen a resurgence of the labor movement with his vision to push for a just economy for all, shared prosperity, equal pay, respect at work, safety on the job, and the freedom for workers to join a union and bargain collectively.

Rich Trumka will always be remembered as a force for moral good who knew that the greatest reward in life was the opportunity to serve others. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Barbara, children, grandchildren and everyone he touched through his remarkable life.

Timothy Driscoll, President, Bricklayers (BAC):

Throughout every major fight that labor has waged in recent decades, his strong voice and steadfast leadership encouraged and inspired millions of Americans. His leadership and vision have ensured that the AFL-CIO remains the leading voice in fighting for workers across our country. We must honor that legacy by continuing that fight.

Anthony Shelton, International President, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM):

The BCTGM is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our Brother and friend Rich Trumka. Brother Trumka was a visionary leader and powerful and highly effective voice for working men and women. He was tireless in the defense of workers’ rights and the advancement of economic, social and racial justice at home and around the world. Rich Trumka was a loyal and devoted friend to the BCTGM. Regardless of the cause or fight, Rich always stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our Union and our members. The BCTGM is eternally grateful for his steadfast support and friendship. Our hearts and prayers are with Rich and his family at this difficult time.

Christopher Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America (CWA):

Rich Trumka dedicated his life to the labor movement. Rich cared deeply about improving the lives of all working people, and he never forgot what it was like to work in the mines of western Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, the AFL-CIO fought every day for a more inclusive, just America. I was proud to call him my brother.

Gregory Revard, General President, Heat and Frost Insulators (HFIU):

President Trumka was a dedicated labor leader that came from the United Mine Workers Union. He was elected to the AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer position in 1995 and served in that position for 14 years. In 2009, he was elected president where he served through his final days leading 12.5 million workers.

Robert Martinez Jr., International President, Machinists (IAM):

Today, workers across the world mourn the loss of a labor movement giant and working people’s champion, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Rich revitalized the labor movement and stood toe-to-toe against any enemy standing in the way of dignity and justice on the job. He made life better for working people across our nation and the world. Our heart goes out to his family, friends, and the entire AFL-CIO. The IAM will forever be grateful to President Trumka for standing up for IAM members all across our different industries. Rich marched on our picket lines and helped lead efforts to improve the lives of working families. He was a fighter for change, and his work will never be forgotten. The IAM will honor Rich in a way he would want us to–fighting like hell to pass his legacy legislation, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

Paul Shearon, International President, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE):

The news of Rich Trumka’s passing is a terrible loss to the members of our union and for all workers. He was the leading voice for America’s workers, many of whom, despite their hard work, struggle day in and day out to provide for their families.

Rich was a mine worker who eventually became president of the United Mine Workers of America and later the top leader in the American labor movement. And, while his background was very different from many of IFPTE’s members, most of whom are professionals at companies like Boeing or government agencies like NASA, he understood the struggles and challenges that workers from all walks of life face each day.

Rich certainly was a friend and unapologetic advocate for this union. He walked with our members on their picket lines during a 40-day strike against the Boeing Company. It was Rich Trumka who negotiated the final deal on behalf of our affiliate SPEEA that resulted in huge gains that IFPTE members continue to benefit from two decades later. 

Rich was scheduled to speak at our convention on August 9th. He won’t be there. But, make no mistake, Rich Trumka’s legacy lives on next week and for years to come.”

Terry O’Sullivan, General President, Laborers (LIUNA):

I was shocked and saddened by the death of my friend and brother, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. The world has lost a true working-class warrior, a prophetic voice for justice, and a champion of the powerless and the dispossessed. A third-generation coal miner who became the youngest leader of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), Rich never forgot where he came from, never forgot the value of hard work and those who do it, and knew that working people, from mine workers to Laborers to everyone who toils for an hourly wage, are the greatest asset of our nation and our world. He will go down as one of the great leaders in labor history.

Working with Richard Trumka was one of the highlights of my career in the Labor Movement. Whether pushing for greater infrastructure funding, calling for greater workplace safety, advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, standing up for racial justice, or turning out the vote to elect President Biden and Vice President Harris, Rich was always smart, strategic, tough, and tenacious. The impact of his career, his life, and his legacy will be felt for decades to come, not only by the countless working men and women whose lives he helped improve, but by the next generation of labor leaders for whom he served, and continues to serve, as a role model and inspiration. 

On behalf of the 500,000 proud, strong, and united men and women of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), I offer my sympathy and condolences to the entire Trumka family. While Rich’s life ended far too soon, he will live on in the cherished memories of all those who knew and worked with him.

Paul Rinaldi, President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA):

The nation has lost a truly iconic figure. The labor movement and working people across this country have lost their passionate leader who fought for them with vigor and stood arm-in-arm with them every single day. And I have lost a friend who inspired me to not only fight for NATCA’s members, but to stand in solidarity with our Union brothers and sisters in their fights.

Our Union brother Rich Trumka woke up each morning as president of the AFL-CIO with his mission: To give every ounce of energy he had to not only standing up for workers and giving them a voice, but to growing and strengthening the labor movement. Last year, he was the voice of all workers, fighting for safer workplaces during the pandemic. This year re-energized him, as a labor-friendly administration took office and gave hope to workers everywhere that the time was now for a stronger, reinvigorated labor movement in our country.

Here at NATCA, we always knew Rich had our backs. It was unquestioned. Whether it was a high-profile issue such as the government shutdown of 2019 that he forcefully denounced, or at an opportunity to speak to our members—most recently at our 2018 convention in Philadelphia—Rich energized our membership to do more. He made you feel as if your fight was his fight, every time, because it was. He never let you forget that your voice mattered, and he cared deeply about fairness.

On behalf of the NATCA National Executive Board, I extend our deepest sympathies to Rich’s family, many friends, and all members and staff of the AFL-CIO. We grieve with you, and we stand with you. We pledge to continue the fight for working people everywhere in Rich’s memory.

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director, NFL Players Association (NFLPA):

Richard Trumka was a fighter for working people, a leader for our labor community, a friend and confidant. He was a mentor to me when I joined the labor movement almost thirteen years ago and asked me to join the AFL-ClO Executive Council. There are no words to express the sadness all of us feel today at this sudden loss, but we need to carry on his legacy of coming together to fight for workers and their rights everywhere. He was always there for me and the NFLPA and I will miss him.

Bonnie Castillo, Executive Director, National Nurses United (NNU):

Nurses couldn’t have asked for a stronger ally than Richard Trumka. His most militant years as a mineworker prepared him for this once-in-100-years pandemic, and we were proud to have him by our side, fiercely leading workers to fight for protections and a voice on the job!

Mike Perrone, National President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS):

PASS was honored to have President Trumka address our national convention several years ago and he galvanized the crowd. PASS is certainly not one of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO, but Rich and his staff have always provided PASS and its members the strongest support possible. We have lost a fierce protector of workers’ rights. During the pandemic, nobody stood taller or spoke louder on behalf of working people, especially those on the front lines, than Rich Trumka. His leadership will be sorely missed.

Gabrielle Carteris, President, SAG-AFTRA:

I am devastated to learn of Rich’s passing today. SAG-AFTRA members and all workers have lost a true champion and ally. First and always, a working man, Rich was also an incredible labor leader and a deeply admired voice for the voiceless. He was more than a fellow labor advocate, activist and warrior for the working class; he was my friend and partner. An influential and inspirational leader, he gave his all for the betterment of workers and improved countless lives yet remained at heart, the coal miner from Nemacolin. He was a man of the people. This is not only a huge loss for union members, but for all workers. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and all our brothers and sisters in the global fight for workers.

James Given, President, Seafarers (SIU):

On behalf of the Seafarers International Union of Canada Executive and Membership we send our deepest condolences to Rich’s family. It is a sad day for the labor movement. A true champion of the working class!

John Samuelsen, International President, Transport Workers Union (TWU):

The thoughts of TWU members today are with the family and loved ones of Richard Trumka. We all mourn his loss. Rich dedicated his life to making sure that America’s workers had a strong, unified, and just voice—both on the job and in our democracy. Throughout his decades-long career in the labor movement, he showed us how to fight fiercely for workers’ rights and how to hold the bosses accountable.

His memory should inspire all of us to never back down or lose faith, and to continue fighting so that every worker can have better opportunities for advancement, a safer and more economically secure job, and a better life for their family.

Ray Curry, President, UAW:

To his dying day, Richard Trumka understood working men and women in this country are indispensable and are the engine that drives our economy and our communities. It is with great sadness, having met with him as recently as Monday, to hear the news of this tragic loss of a great champion of the labor movement and social justice. Anyone who knew him, knew he was a tireless fighter of workers’ rights and human rights. The arc of history will remember this great man as a beacon of light during this trying time for working men and women. Our hearts go out to his family and the entire AFL-CIO on this tragic loss.

Marc Perrone, International President, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW):

We are shocked and profoundly saddened by the untimely loss of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. President Trumka was a powerful champion for workers his entire life, and a giant in the labor movement who always led the calls for justice, equality, and fairness across America.

President Trumka was a defining example of how one can lead a life that inspires the souls and spirits of others, no matter the struggles they have faced. Above all, President Trumka was a friend and a stalwart ally to me, our countless local union presidents, and the 1.3 million members of the UFCW, and was always there to help better the lives of our members and their families.

It is difficult to put into words what his loss has left across the labor movement. We only wish that his family and loved ones can find comfort and peace in the fact that he left an indelible mark on our nation and he will be remembered forever.

D. Taylor, International President, UNITE HERE:

Richard Trumka was a friend, a brother in arms for all workers, and believer that all workers deserve the American dream. He was our biggest ally in our 9 month strike at the Horseshoe and our 6 year, 4 month and 10 day strike at the Frontier. UNITE HERE! will be permanently indebted to Rich. What a fighter for us all. God bless you, Richard Trumka.

James Slevin, National President, Utility Workers (UWUA):

Today we have lost one of the strongest champions who never stopped advocating for working people ever. He always lived the for values of DIGNITY and RESPECT in the workplace. Rich was an outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, and the nation’s clearest voice on the critical need to ensure that all workers have a good job and the power to determine their wages and working conditions. He will be sorely missed. On behalf of the members of the UWUA, I am truly grateful for his leadership and his commitment in fighting for racial justice, workplace safety and making sure the voice of all workers is always heard. I am honored to have you as a leader, colleague, and most of all a friend. We send our deepest condolences to Barbara, Rich Jr., and his entire family. Rest in Peace My Brother.

Richard Fiesta, Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans:

Richard Trumka was a legendary labor leader and he was also my friend. Working people had no more committed advocate, and he will be greatly missed but never forgotten. He was our Alliance founding Secretary-Treasurer and he helped build a retiree movement that will be an important part of his legacy. He also established a Retirement Security Working Group at the AFL-CIO devoted to protecting the pensions that have been promised to millions of workers and retirees across the country. He fought to make sure all workers have a voice on the job, a fair wage and a secure retirement—a mission we will continue to fulfill in his memory. 

Richard Trumka had a special connection to the Alliance for Retired Americans and a deep commitment to retirement security for all. As a fellow western Pennsylvanian I first met President Trumka when he was a leader of the United Mine Workers of America, working tirelessly to make sure workers received the pension, health care and Social Security benefits they have earned. He inspired us all each and every day. We will miss him deeply.

Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance:

The domestic workers movement is devastated to hear of the loss of Rich Trumka. We send our love to his family & to our labor movement family AFL-CIO. As we work to build a world where all work has respect & dignity, we are deeply grateful for his life’s work. Rest well.

Becky Pringle, President, National Education Association:

It is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that we learned about the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He was a compassionate, caring and truly charismatic labor leader who fought for rights and justice, dignity and fairness for all working people across this country.

Rich and I started our careers in Pennsylvania, following in our families’ footsteps—he was a third-generation coal miner outside Pittsburgh when I followed in the path of my father by going into the classroom. Rich loved football, and we shared a friendly rivalry: he was an avid Steelers fan while I rooted for my Eagles. Years later, we both landed in Washington to advocate for working families when he came to the AFL-CIO and I became an officer of the National Education Association. Rich loved his family and was so proud of his son, Richard Trumka, Jr., for continuing the legacy of fighting for worker, social and economic justice. And when he passed, Rich was doing what he loved—spending time with his family and celebrating his grandson’s birthday.

Rich will be missed but he also will be remembered. We will honor his legacy by ensuring his mission—that our fundamental right to join together and form a union—is not just preserved but strengthened because everyone is better when we can collectively negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Rest in strength, President Trumka.

Scott Vance, CEO, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance:

We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn that our brother and leader Richard Trumka had passed away yesterday morning at the age of 72. He was doing what he loved, spending time outdoors with his family, celebrating his grandson’s birthday with a camping trip. Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. Rich was a legend in America’s labor movement. His leadership was unparalleled as the voice of America’s Union workers. 

Rich served as the Chairman of the Board for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance for over 14 years. It was Rich and a small group of other Labor and conservation leaders who had the vision to start the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. He never forgot where he came from and he took a grassroots approach to conservation and uniting the Union community. His leadership and service to our organization will be sorely missed. Now more than ever, we must come together by uniting the Union community through conservation, to carry out the mission and vision Rich had for the USA. That’s how we honor his legacy. Rich was a friend, a mentor, and he was a foundational leader and supporter of our organization.

Rich would have wanted us to move forward with a stiff upper lip and a stalwart commitment to conservation, Unions, and the organization he loved. He would want us to honor his legacy by continuing to help this organization thrive, grow and unite unions in ways that preserve the outdoor heritage he so dearly loved. So that’s exactly what we will do. Rich always called me “pal” as a term of endearment. I’ve lost a great pal and the world has lost a tremendous leader. Godspeed my friend. Until we meet again.

Joe Biden, U.S. President:

I recently called Rich Trumka. It wasn’t scheduled. I just called to check in as old friends do. We started our conversation like always. He asked about Jill and the family and I asked about Barbara and theirs. And then we got to work.

For Rich, work was synonymous with a word that defined his life: dignity. In the more than thirty years of our friendship, he was a fierce and forceful champion for the dignity of the American worker.

Whenever you heard him speak, you understood why. He was the American worker.

A son of a Pennsylvania coal miner, he grew up to be one. He became president of the United Mine Workers at just 33, and nearly thirty years later, he was elected president of the AFL-CIO. Yet no matter how far his career took him, he never forgot where he came from and the people he started with.

For Rich, it was always about doing right by working people—fighting for and protecting their wages, their safety, their pensions, and their ability to build a good, decent, honorable middle-class life. It was about workers improving their own lives and building worker power together. And it was about America itself. It was about the American worker being the heart of our economic might and dynamism. I’ve always believed that the middle class built this country and unions built the middle class. There is no doubt that Rich Trumka helped build unions all across America.

Perhaps the most important trait I valued in Rich is that he was never afraid to speak truth to power, even if the power was held by people he helped elect—myself included. He was always honest and fair. He was always tough and trustworthy. He was as great a friend and powerful and reliable ally as anyone could have in their corner.

I will miss him as will the countless workers whose lives he made better and the labor movement he led with daring vision. But I know our pain is nothing compared to what Barbara and their son Rich Jr. and their grandchildren Richard and Taylor are feeling on this day. As I told you on the phone after we heard the news, Jill and I send you our love—today and always.

Rich Trumka was a dear friend, a great American, and a good man.

Barack Obama, Former U.S. President:

From the coal mines of Pennsylvania to the halls of Congress, Rich Trumka was a fierce advocate for working Americans. He loved this country, and he never missed an opportunity to remind us what we can be. Thinking of his family, friends and federation on this difficult day.

Kamala Harris, U.S. Vice President:

Today, our nation lost a great leader. Richard L. Trumka was a champion of workers everywhere. He lived his beliefs. That work has dignity. That workers should be respected and have a voice. That justice and equality are hallmarks of a strong nation. My thoughts and prayers are with Rich’s wife Barbara, their son Rich Jr., and their grandchildren Richard and Taylor.

Al Gore, Former U.S. Vice President:

Richard Trumka was a tireless champion for the American worker and a powerful advocate for climate action. I am deeply grateful for his vision, leadership, and friendship over the years and will miss him dearly.

Hillary Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State:

What a loss. Whether you knew Richard Trumka or not, you likely benefited from his decades of leadership and labor organizing. Sending my deepest condolences to his family.

Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader, New York:

The working people of America have lost a fierce warrior when we needed him most. We will remember Rich Trumka forever.

Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senator, Ohio:

Rich Trumka embodied the soul of the labor movement—the dignity of work, the idea that hard work should pay off for everyone. We’ve walked picket lines together and we’ve rallied together on behalf of workers. Connie and I are proud to have called him a friend.

Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator, Minnesota:

Rich Trumka went from working in the mines of Pennsylvania to leading the AFL-CIO. He was one of our country’s clearest voices for labor rights and a staunch advocate for workers everywhere. He never forgot where he came from. My condolences to his family & the AFL-CIO.

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator, Vermont:

Richard Trumka was a son of the American working class, and he never forgot where he came from. Over the years he and I worked together on many issues. He was a friend and I am saddened by his passing. Jane and I send our deepest condolences to the Trumka family. 

Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts:

Rich is gone and that is a hard blow to you and to our whole nation. And this is the moment to honor Rich’s legacy, not just with words but but by staying in the fights that Rich led us on. By staying in the fights relentlessly for workers rights. We’re going to miss Rich.

Andy Levin, U.S. Representative, Michigan:

I am shocked by the sudden passing of Richard Trumka, whom I first met in 1995 when I ran the field operation of his campaign to become Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO along with President John Sweeney and Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson. From his days leading the United Mine Workers to his long run as AFL-CIO president, Rich never wavered in his support for the workers of this country and all around the world—and for their rights to organize and bargain.

On a personal note, as an AFL-CIO staffer for eleven years, Rich unfailingly supported me, from when we launched Union Summer to when we launched to Voice@Work campaign that led to the Employee Free Choice Act.

Richard Trumka was in his element with President Joe Biden, the most pro-worker leader our country has had in generations, poised to do whatever it takes to pass the PRO Act and open a new era of worker voice and power across the land.

Now that this lion of labor has fallen so unexpectedly, we will redouble our efforts in his honor. I send my sincere condolences to the Trumka family.

Marty Walsh, U.S. Secretary of Labor:

America’s workers lost one of their greatest champions in AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He was a role model for me as a labor leader and a partner to me as a public servant. Most important, Rich was a dear friend and I will miss him.

Kenneth Quinnell
Wed, 08/11/2021 – 11:35

Updated: August 23, 2021 — 7:37 am