The combative, longtime president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, died of a heart attack in August. After serving as the Secretary-Treasurer for 14 years, Trumka ascended to the presidency in 2009.
Trumka used his post at the helm of one of the largest labor organizations in the world to promote unionism to both blue and white collar workers, and promoted public policies such as infrastructure and healthcare reforms that would benefit the “working class.”
This characteristic statement succinctly sums up his philosophy of unionism, “We need to be a labor movement that stands by our friends, punishes its enemies and challenges those who, well, can’t seem to decide which side they’re on.”
Liz Shuler, elected as Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO in 2009 as the first woman in that position and the youngest woman to ever serve on the organization’s executive council, has succeeded Trumka as President. The executive officers’ terms run through June 2022, when the convention will elect new leaders to serve four-year terms.