Richard Trumka, Head OF AFL-CIO, Dies At 72

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Influential labor force leader Trumka dies at 72 of a heart attack.

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president and influential leader for the nation’s labor rights, died Thursday from a heart attack. He was 72.

Trumka had been a powerful voice in many Washington debates and was an ally for many Democrats.

The exact time and location of death are unclear. His death was announced on the Senate floor by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

“The working people of America have lost a fierce warrior at a time when we needed him most,” said Schumer.

A former coal miner, Trumka was elected president of the AFL-CIO in 2009. The federation is the largest in the U.S., with more than 50 labor unions representing 12.5 million members. 

Trumka’s career is marked with decades of fighting for labor rights. He served as a key leader during the pandemic, advising many White House officials on how to reopen a beaten economy during the global crisis. 

Prior to his role as AFL-CIO president, Trumka served as their secretary-treasurer, its second-ranking official. He also headed the United Mine Workers of America.

“He was a relentless champion of workers’ rights, workplace safety, worker-centered trade, democracy and so much more," the AFL-CIO said in a statement. "Standing on Rich’s shoulders, we will pour everything we have into building an economy, society and democracy that lifts up every working family and community.”

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