Former miners union leader once arrested during demonstration in Southwest Virginia dies at 72

Local

RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – The former president of one of the largest labor organizations in the world has passed away.

Richard Trumka was the head of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), which is comprised of more than 12.5 million members. Trumka is also a former president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

In 1989, under Trumka’s leadership, the UMWA led a strike against coal company Pittston for months. Thousands of coal miners from Southwest Virginia and other states participated.

At one point during the strike, Trumka was arrested in front of the Russell County Courthouse during a sit-down demonstration.

THE UMWA released the following statement:

“The global labor movement has lost a giant. Richard Trumka was more than the leader of the American Labor Movement, he was an unequaled voice for the workers around the world.”

United Mine Workers of America

Randy Moore, the director of Coal Programs at the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, provided News Channel 11 with the following statement regarding Trumka’s death:

“The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is saddened to learn of the passing of Richard Trumpka. The United Mine Workers of America share our values when it comes to safety in Virginia’s coal mines. The work of Mr. Trumpka towards achieving a fatality free industry should be celebrated. There is no better way to memorialize the work of this leader than the continued efforts toward safety at every coal mine. “

Randy Moore, Director of Coal Programs at the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy

Trumka was 72 at the time of his death.

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