AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka died suddenly of a heart attack, according to multiple media reports.
According to multiple media reports, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka died on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning from a heart attack.
“He was one of the most powerful labor leaders in the country and a key ally of Democrats in Washington,” noted the Washington Post in reporting the story.
President Biden, upon learning the news, reportedly stated:
“A very close friend passed away. Richard Trumka was more than the head of the AFL-CIO, he was a very close personal friend.”
The president added that Richard Trumka was with family on a camping trip and "at least he was with people who adored him." https://t.co/lKMi0oddGt
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) August 5, 2021
Staff at the AFL-CIO were informed of the death on Thursday morning, Politico reported.
Trumka, an attorney and former head of the United Mine Workers of America, rose to national attention in the mid-90s when John Sweeney, Trumka, and Linda Chavez-Thompson took over the AFL-CIO leadership from the “old guard” at the AFL-CIO.
Following Sweeney’s retirement, Trumka became president of the labor federation.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held back tears on the Senate floor as he announced Trumka’s passing.
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 5, 2021
“As AFL-CIO president,” reported HuffPost, “Trumka was the face of American labor over the past decade, serving as a key political ally to Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
While it is too early to confirm, it is likely that the AFL-CIO’s current Secretary-Treasurer, Liz Shuler, will assume the presidency of the 135-year old union federation.
On Thursday, Shuler expressed her shock and sadness on Twitter.
Rich was a relentless champion of workers’ rights, and even as we mourn his passing today, we will stand on his shoulders to continue the fight for workers, and for the fair and just society he believed in so passionately. We will honor his legacy with action.
— Liz Shuler (@lizshuler) August 5, 2021
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