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“Labor movement loses legend”: union boss Richard Trumka dies at age 72 | US union

Richard Tormuka, the powerful president of the AFL-CIO, who stands up from a Pennsylvania coal mine and oversees one of the world’s largest trade unions, died Thursday. He was 72 years old.

The federation confirmed the death of Trumka in a statement. He has been AFL-CIO Chairman since 2009 after 14 years as Secretary and Treasurer of the organization. From the perch, he oversaw a federation of more than 12.5 million members, leading to a more aggressive leadership style.

“The labor movement, the AFL-CIO, and the country have lost their legend today,” said the AFL-CIO. “Rich Tolmka devoted his life to working people, from his early days as president of United Mine Workers in the United States to his unparalleled leadership as the voice of the American labor movement.”

Details of Tolmka’s death, such as the cause and where he died, were not immediately known.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has announced that Trumka has died from the Senate floor. “When we needed him most, American workers lost a fierce warrior,” he said.

President Joe Biden called Trumka “more than the head of the AFL-CIO” a “best friend.” He apologized for appearing late in meeting with Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander citizenship leaders, saying he had just learned that Tolmka had died.

Barack Obama and Torumuka in 2010. Photo: Michael Reynolds / EPA

A tough man with thick eyebrows and a bushy mustache, Torumka was the son and grandson of a coal miner. He grew up in the small town of Nemacolin in southeastern Pennsylvania and worked as a miner while attending Pennsylvania State University.

He was elected the youngest president of United Mineworkers in the United States at the age of 33 in 1982, and the union, which was in trouble at the time, vowed to “stand up again.”

There he succeeded in striking the Pittston coal company in an attempt to avoid paying the industry-wide health pension fund, the union’s website said.

At the age of 43, Trumka led a national strike on peabody coal in 1993. During the walkoff, he caused controversy.

When asked about the company’s potential to hire full-time replacements, Tolmka told The Associated Press that “you could get burned if you put your finger in the match.” Torumka claimed that he did not threaten violence against substitutes. “I want it to happen? Absolutely not. Do I think it can happen? Yes, I think it can happen,” he told AP. ..

As AFL-CIO President, he vows to revive the union’s sagging membership role and recognizes the labor movement as “just a grainy, faded picture from another era”. I promised to appeal to.

“We need a meaningful unionism for the next generation of young women and men who either don’t have the money to go to college or are almost blunt by the time they come out,” Tolmka said in a speech to a cheering party of hundreds. Told to. At the 2009 union’s annual convention.

That year, he also threatened Democrats who were key supporters of the 2009 medical debate by including public and government-run insurance options.

“We need to be a labor movement that stands by friends, punishes enemies, and challenges people who seem unable to determine which side they are on,” he said in August 2009. rice field.

In a 2011 debate over the rights of civil servants in the Republican-controlled state legislature, Tolmka said the angry protests it caused had been postponed.

Tolmka said a bill by then-Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker to strip the bargaining power of the civil servant union could draw thousands of protesters to Madison’s parliament after decades of decline. He said he was expecting it.

Mr. Tolmka said Walker had begun a national debate on collective bargaining “which the country urgently needed”, whether intended or not.

Compliment

Eulogy was poured from Trumka’s democratic ally in Washington.

“Richard Tolmka devoted his life to the right to organize his life with the labor movement,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Richard’s leadership transcended a single movement because he fought with principles and tenacity to protect the dignity of all.”

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he was “broken heart” when he learned of his friend’s death.

“Rich’s story is about America. He was the son and grandson of Italian and Polish immigrants and started mining coal. He never forgot where he came from. He was the rest of his career. Dedicated to fighting for American working men and women, “Manchin said in a statement.

“Labor movement loses legend”: union boss Richard Trumka dies at age 72 | US union

Source link “Labor movement loses legend”: union boss Richard Trumka dies at age 72 | US union

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