Democrats are mourning the death of larger-than-life AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who suddenly passed away at age 72.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had tears in his eyes as he announced Trumka’s passing on the Senate floor:
An emotional Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tearfully announces the death of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Senate floor:
“It’s just horrible news … we have just lost a giant, and we need him so.” pic.twitter.com/Jnz2LiDMxe
— The Recount (@therecount) August 5, 2021
In a statement provided to PolitcusUSA, Speaker of the House Pelosi said:
The Congress and Country are shocked and heartbroken by the passing of an unsurpassed titan of labor: Richard Trumka. Personally and officially, I am greatly saddened by his passing, which is a great loss for the men and women of labor, and indeed, for all hard-working Americans.
Richard Trumka dedicated his life to the labor movement and the right to organize, from his work as an attorney for the United Mine Workers of America to his decades-long leadership of the AFL-CIO. Richard’s leadership transcended a single movement, as he fought with principle and persistence to defend the dignity of every person – whether speaking out against apartheid and discrimination abroad or fighting bigotry and racism here at home. His courage in speaking truth to power made a difference for millions and made him a cherished ally in our mission to advance the health, financial security and well-being of working families.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, “I am heartbroken to learn of the death of my dear friend Richard Trumka. Rich’s story is the American story – he was the son and grandson of Italian and Polish immigrants and began his career mining coal. He never forgot where he came from. He dedicated the rest of his career to fighting for America’s working men and women. He was a fierce advocate for working people and a truly decent man. Most importantly, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Gayle and I will keep Barbara, Rich Jr. and the many people who loved Rich in our prayers as they mourn this tragic loss.”
At A Time When Labor Could Be Poised For A Comeback, America Needs Richard Trumka
As America rebuilds and revives while still fighting the pandemic, the labor movement could be poised for a comeback. With Democrats controlling the Legislative and Executive branches strengthening unions is a part of Joe Biden’s build back better plan to strengthen the middle class.
It is unfortunate that Trumka didn’t live to see labor’s potential comeback, but his work will go on, and all of the people who learned from him will lead the labor movement into the future.
If labor revives that will be Richard Trumka’s defining legacy.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association