Issued August 05, 2021
The untimely death of Rich Trumka is a terrible loss for the labor movement and for working people everywhere.
Rich Trumka was not just president of the AFL-CIO but a leader for working people across the country and all over the world. He fought tirelessly both for union workers who are able to collectively bargain for better jobs, and for the millions who are fighting to join together with their co-workers in a union. He believed the labor movement must fight for all workers, build cross-racial solidarity, and confront the systemic injustices that hurt us all. As working people across the country face interconnected economic, racial, healthcare, and climate crises, his leadership will be sorely missed.
Rich never forgot where he came from as he rose from the coalfields of Pennsylvania to lead the mine workers as president of the UMWA through powerful strikes against big mining interests – and eventually to lead the AFL-CIO as its president.
Rich understood in his bones that an injury to one is an injury to all. Some of my most recent and treasured memories of Rich are of working closely to bring unions and community groups together to push Congress to raise the minimum wage, pass the PRO Act, and create a path to a union for millions of home care workers as we fight for racial and economic justice for every worker, everywhere. That fight continues, and Richard Trumka’s legacy will live on in every victory.
SEIU members and Fight for $15 leaders are sending our love and solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the AFL-CIO as we grieve this loss of a legendary labor leader.