President, TUAC; President
Richard L. Trumka was elected president of the AFL-CIO in September, 2009, following 15 years of service as its secretary-treasurer. He was first elected in 1995 as the youngest secretary-treasurer to date during the insurgent campaign to reinvigorate the American labor movement. At the time of his election, Trumka was serving his third term as president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
In 2009, President Barack Obama named Trumka to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Two years later, the President appointed him to the President’s Council on Job and Competitiveness.
Trumka led the creation of the AFL-CIO Capital Stewardship Program in 1997 to promote the retirement security in ensuring that workers’ deferred wages are wisely invested to provide the best long-term benefits to America’s working families. Under Trumka’s leadership, the program promotes corporate governance reform, investment manager accountability, pro-worker investment strategies, international pension fund cooperation and trustee education and support.
A member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council since 1989, Trumka was instrumental in developing tactics to rally the support of international labor on behalf of U.S. workers struggling for workplace justice against multinational conglomerates. He also served on the executive boards of the International Miners’ Federation and the ICFTU and played a key role in organizing a new global coalition of coal miners’ unions in five countries. Trumka, himself a third-generation coal miner from Pennsylvania, began working in the mines at age 19. As a member of a UMWA local branch, he served as chairman of the safety committee. He soon became an activist in the Miners for Democracy reform movement.
As president, Trumka led the UMWA in one of the most successful strikes in recent American history against the Pittston Coal Company. This action resulted in significant advances in employer-employee cooperation and enhanced mine workers’ job security, pensions and benefits. In the course of his UMWA three-term presidency, Trumka won passage of the federal COAL Act that provides guaranteed health care for retired miners; mobilized support to win a contract for 18,000 miners forced out on strike for seven months by BCOA; and established an office that rallied support among mineworkers for the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and served as the U.S. Shell Oil boycott chairman to prevent business dealings of the company with the country.
Trumka holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a law degree from Villanova University.