Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the nation, has died at the age of 72.
The leader presided over an organization comprising fifty-five national and international unions representing over 12.5 million members. He held the post for over a decade. His passing was announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor Thursday.
“The working people of America have lost a fierce warrior at a time when we needed him most,” Schumer said to chamber.
Trumka’s cause of death is believed to be a heart attack and time of death has not yet been confirmed, a source informed Politico.
President Biden and Trumka had developed a strong working relationship, and the organization had long served as an influential force in the Democratic party. Trumka advised Biden in appointing Marty Walsh to serve as secretary of the Labor Department in his Cabinet.
The former coal miner also helped bridge the legislative divide between Democrats and Republicans during the administration of President Trump, who attracted many blue-collar union members to his base with his populist rhetoric.