'A great friend and supporter of the Kentucky labor movement'

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Bill Londrigan remembers AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka as "a great friend and supporter of the Kentucky labor movement" who "visited Kentucky on many occasions to support our work."

Trumka, AFL-CIO president since 2009, died unexpectedly yesterday, reportedly of a heart attack. He was 72.

"He marched on several occasions with us in Frankfort and helped guide our movement along our journey for justice for working families," said Londrigan, longtime Kentucky State AFL-CIO president. "He was a friend of mine and all of Kentucky’s workers and a great trade unionist who made tremendous contributions to the union movement and fought for the rights of all workers to fair wages, benefits and a decent standard of living."

Born into a Pennsylvania coal mining family, Trumka worked as a miner before earning a law degree. He was a UMWA staff attorney before being elected UMWA president in 1982. At 33, he was the union's youngest president. 

Trumka served until 1995 when he was elected AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, the federation's second ranking official. 

Trumka was elected to head the AFL-CIO after President John Sweeney retired in 2009.

"President Trumka reinvigorated the AFL-CIO and worked tirelessly to improve diversity and to elect candidates that support unions and workers," Londrigan said.