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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, one of today's most high-profile union leaders, died Thursday at age 72, the union said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made the initial announcement Thursday on the Senate floor.
The AFL-CIO described him as a "legend" and a "relentless champion of workers' rights, workplace safety, worker-centered trade, democracy and so much more."
Trumka, who grew up in Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, led one of the largest labor unions in the nation since 2009 when he was elected to the position. He attended Penn State and Villanova University law school.
An ally of President Biden and former President Barack Obama, Trumka worked with former President Donald Trump on crafting the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement and eventually endorsed the rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"The working people of America have lost a fierce warrior at a time when we needed him the most," an emotional Schumer said. "Just yesterday, Rich was lending his support to the striking miners in Alabama."
WHO IS AFL-CIO PRESIDENT RICHARD TRUMKA?
Schumer said Trumka embodied the working people of America "in his veins and every atom of his body."
"He was them. Rich Trumka was the working people of America. He never had any airs," he said before taking a deep sigh.