Statement by Georgia AFL-CIO President Charlie Flemming on Passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, “Today, Every Worker Mourns.”

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2021 

Contact: Kalina Newman, [email protected]

“This morning, America’s labor movement suddenly and unexpectedly lost the life of its leader, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 

Today, every worker in Georgia—every worker in America—mourns. This is a dark day for America’s unions.

President Trumka was a lion of a leader. He embodied everything about what it meant to be a fighter, a worker, a union sibling, and a true pioneer for our movement. 

Born in Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Italian and Polish immigrants. His father was a miner, and so was he. His work in the mines spurred his career in the labor movement, and he quickly rose through the ranks with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). He became president of the union in 1982, and led a long, brutal, and ultimately successful nine-month strike against the Pittston Coal Company in 1989.  He became secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO in 1995, and was elected president of the organization in 2009.  

In the last months of his life, President Trumka and the AFL-CIO went above and beyond to elect pro-worker champions, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, to office. And I worked closely with him, too, as Georgia’s workers went above and beyond to elect a pro-worker majority to our Senate.

As we fight for a better future for all of Georgia’s working people, we will forever do so with the strength, tenacity, and love that President Trumka embodied for the labor movement every single day of his life.” 

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The Georgia AFL-CIO is a key part of the nation's largest and strongest labor federation—the AFL-CIO, which unites 12.5 million working women and men of every race and ethnicity and from every walk of life.