Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven A. Tolman on the Passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

“This morning, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 72. 

This is an extraordinarily sad day for our movement and for every worker in our nation. We stand in solidarity and grief with workers everywhere as we mourn his loss. 

Rich Trumka spent every day of his life fighting tirelessly to ensure all workers have dignity and respect on the job. He was a dear friend, a fierceless leader, and a champion for our movement. 

His impact on Massachusetts’ working people cannot be understated. He stood with us, his support unwavering, during our historic Stop & Shop strike in 2019 and so many other important fights over the years. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he led his movement through unprecedented times. And most recently, he helped elect the most pro-union president of our lifetime, who then appointed Boston’s own champion for working people as Secretary of Labor. Trumka knew, more than anyone I’ve ever known, the power of collective bargaining and the importance of the union difference.” 

He is a lion of labor, and we will miss him so dearly. And as our fight continues, we will carry the strength of his spirit with us. We will never forget him.

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Image Credit: Alex Brandon/Associated Press

On behalf of our 500,000 members across the Commonwealth, we are sad to learn of the passing of Joseph C. Faherty, who served as president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO from 1990-1998. Mr.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council today elected Liz Shuler, a visionary leader and longtime trade unionist, to serve as president of the federation of 56 unions and 12.5 million members. Shuler is the first woman to hold the office in the history of the labor federation. The Executive Council also elected United Steelworkers (USW) International Vice President Fred Redmond to succeed Shuler as secretary-treasurer, the first African American to hold the number two office. Tefere Gebre will continue as executive vice president, rounding out the most diverse team of officers ever to lead the AFL-CIO.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said: “Instead of increasing lifesaving measures aimed at protecting working people at our workplaces, the Trump administration consistently rolled back existing safety and health rules and has failed to move forward on any new safety and health protections. We look forward to working with the new administration to strengthen job safety protections and enforcement; rebuild workplace safety agencies; and prevent worker deaths, injuries and disease.”

This past fall, Transport Workers Union (TWU) member Gregory Harasym began a master’s program in city and regional planning with a concentration in transportation. He intends to examine alternative transportation methods to address community-level health and social injustices; and he hopes to eventually be a specialist in this field, focusing on policy for the Department of Transportation. His career direction changed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which deeply impacted his community and left him passionate about helping communities become resilient to future disasters.

Transportation industry groups and unions were quick to applaud the selection of Pete Buttigieg as President-elect Joe Biden’s nomine

Tony Lein, a member of the Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 95 in Chicago, is among the 2020 Union Plus Scholarship award winners. He is a firefighter/paramedic and peer fitness trainer with the Oak Park [Illinois] Fire Department, where he has worked since 2015. He also teaches American Heart Association CPR classes with Save-A-Life. Lein was awarded a $4,000 scholarship as he pursues a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

The United States has the sad distinction of having the most confirmed coronavirus cases and death in the world, which has kept many schools shuttered for instruction in person. Parents and educators know that our children do best at schools, where they can get support, and they worry that the lack of learning in person has hurt students in need.

Larry Willis’s colleagues liked to joke that he kept a copy of the Railway Labor Act, passed a few years before the Great Depression, under his pillow.

“He loved the wonk,” said his wife, Amy York. “He could explain things in a way that normal people could understand.”

“It’s absolutely essential,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an interview. “If you tell a worker, ‘Don’t come to work when you’re sick so you don’t spread Covid, but you’re not going to get paid and your family’s not going to eat and you’re not going to pay your rent,’ you’re asking too much of them.”

Read the full article in Politico.

California has become the fourth and largest state to adopt emergency workplace protections for COVID-19. Nearly 20 million workers in California will be protected by the new mandate, which includes requirements for face masks, physical distancing and reporting of outbreaks in the workplace. Rebecca Reindel, director of occupational safety and health at the AFL-CIO, said the federal government should follow the lead of states like California. “The virus doesn’t know boundaries,” she said.