AFM Endorses Trumka Team for AFL-CIO Election

By Lee, Thomas F. | International Musician, August 2009 | Go to article overview

AFM Endorses Trumka Team for AFL-CIO Election


Lee, Thomas F., International Musician


I am pleased to inform you that on July 23 the AFM International Executive Board (IEB) endorsed Richard Trumka, Arlene Holt Baker, and Liz Shuler for President, Executive Vice-President, and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, in the AFL-CIO election this September. The election will be held as current President John Sweeney prepares to retire at the end of his term this year. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with all three candidates and can attest to their energetic leadership and unwavering dedication to the labor movement.

As you may already know, Trumka, now in his fourth term as AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, has been a strong and powerful voice for workers all over North America. He was first elected to the position in 1995, the youngest secretary-treasurer in AFL-CIO history, as part of an insurgent campaign to reinvigorate the American labor movement and he has continued that level of energy ever since.

A third-generation coal miner from Pennsylvania, Trumka began working in the mines at the age of 19 and soon after became an activist in the Miners for Democracy reform movement.

He was elected to the union's executive board in 1981 and first elected international president in 1982 and served for three terms until his 1995 election as an AFL-CIO officer. During his tenure as United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) president, Trumka led the union in two major strikes against the nation's coal companies-actions that resulted in significant advances in employer-employee cooperation and enhanced mine workers' job security, pensions, and benefits.

During his time with the labor movement, Trumka has served on many committees and task forces to help ordinary Americans in their struggles against challenges in the workplace. He is the chair of the Strategic Approaches Committee, charged with assisting affiliated unions that seek assistance in achieving their strategic goals through collective bargaining. He led the creation of the AFL-CIO Capital Stewardship Program in 1997 to promote the retirement security of America's working families. And most recently, President Barack Obama named Trumka to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, chaired by former Federal Reserve Chair Paul A. Volcker.

Trumka's running mate, Arlene Holt Baker, brings a high level of dedication and experience to the slate also. Her experience as a union and grassroots organizer spans more than 30 years. On September 21, 2007, she was approved unanimously as executive vice president by the AFL-CIO Executive Council, becoming the first African-American to be elected to one of the AFL-CIO's three highest offices and the highest-ranking African-American woman in the union movement. In this position, Holt Baker builds on her legacy of inspiring activism and reaching out to diverse communities to support the needs and aspirations of working people. …

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