For Immediate Release
California Labor Federation
Contact: Steve Smith 510-326-4644
“An incalculable loss to the labor movement”: California Labor Federation Statement on the Passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“We are shocked and deeply saddened this morning to learn of the passing of AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. From his early days in the coalmines of southwest Pennsylvania, to the power corridors of Washington, DC, Trumka dedicated every ounce of his being to defending and advancing the rights of workers. This loss is felt by every single working person Rich devoted his life to protecting.
“At just 33 years of age, Trumka became the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America, leading coal miners to victory in one of the most successful strikes of all time against the Pittston Coal Company. He brought that fighting spirit and tenacity to everything he did throughout his entire career. As the leader of the AFL-CIO, Trumka vigorously defended the rights of workers from myriad attacks and was the driving force behind historic victories for the labor movement. I’ve never known a more tenacious leader who was never afraid to take a principled stand for workers, even when the odds were stacked against him.
“This is an incalculable loss for the labor movement in America and around the world. Rich’s legacy can be seen and felt in every worker he helped to achieve a better life. To his last day, he vigorously fought for the most meaningful labor law reform in a century, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. When this bill becomes law leading to a renaissance in worker organizing, every single worker will reap the benefits of Rich’s lifetime of advocacy. We send our most heartfelt condolences to Rich’s family. While his loss hurts deeply for all of us who knew and loved him, we know Rich would want us to heed the calling of legendary labor activist Joe Hill: ‘Don’t mourn, organize!’ Rest in Power, President Trumka.”