The Labor community has coalesced today around the sadness of a good man as well as a great leader in the passing of President Richard Trumpka. A Pennsylvania miner, he rose to become President of the United Mineworkers. He was a relentless advocate for workers, worker’s rights, worker safety, fair trade, the Pro Act that would truly put unions on a level playing field. A strong advocate for the infrastructure bill now in the Senate, he believed this bill could be the shot in the arm that American business and workers so desperately need. The bill would help transportation, roads, and bridges, it would broaden the internet, bring our power grids up to date and provide so many more benefits. He fought the right for every American’s right to vote in fair elections and democracy at the ballot box.
While President of the UMW he was heavily involved in the Pittston strike beginning in April of 1989 to February of 1990. Pittston terminated health care benefits for about 1,500 retirees, widows, and disabled miners. They also refused to contribute to the trust to benefit miners who retire before 1974. At the end of this epic struggle with the intervention of Dept. Labor Secretary, Elizabeth Dole re-established these benefits.
A working coalminer who never forgot where he came from, he helped to change our country from a me society to a we society. President Trumpka is the epitome of our mission here at the Labor Guild: to achieve fairness and safety in the workplace; work to achieve economic and social justice for all workers; and give workers the knowledge to be effective in their workplaces as well as their community.
To our dear friend, thank you for making a difference and making this world a better place, rest in peace.
By David Kowalski, Executive Director