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.

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.

Trece Andrews spent the last three months phone-banking and sometimes canvassing for Joe Biden in Michigan. The nursing home worker focused her efforts on Detroit residents and fellow members of the Service Employees International Union, telling them a Biden administration would protect their health care and do more to raise their wages.

Democrat Joe Biden gained more of the vote from members of the AFL-CIO than Hillary Clinton did four years ago, its president said, crediting laborers for the party’s wins in key states.

"Simply put, we got out the vote," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters Thursday. "In Wisconsin, in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden's firewall was union made. And the labor movement is expanding the map--look at Arizona, look at Georgia."

Congratulations to our endorsed candidates for U.S. Congress, State Senate, and State Representative who won their races on Election Day. An additional congratulations to our endorsed candidates who came up just short; when champions for working people run for office, we all win! See our winning candidates below:

U.S. Congress

Working families deserve a leader who will focus on “we, the people,” not just on the person they see in the mirror. Only Vice President Joe Biden can be that president. I’ve known Joe for 40 years. He loves his family, loves working people and loves our country. His “Made in America” plan will revitalize America's manufacturing in a way Trump never could. Biden doesn’t only have the best plan to beat the virus and help workers recover financially—he is the only candidate for president with a plan at all. And with a Biden administration, we’ll finally pass the PRO Act, allowing workers to join a union freely and fairly.