At this week’s AFL-CIO national convention, Richard Trumka is expected to be elected president of the nation’s largest union umbrella organization. The National Right to Work Foundation has prepared a Fact Sheet about Trumka’s record of militancy and disregard for the rule of law.
As president of the United Mine Workers (UMW) union, Trumka led multiple violent strikes. Trumka’s fiery rhetoric often appeared to condone militancy and violence, especially against workers who dared to continue to provide for their families by working during a strike. As a Virginia judge ruled in 1989, "violent activities are being organized, orchestrated and encouraged by the leadership of this union."
Take the murder of Eddie York, a nonunion contractor, who was shot in the back of the head and killed while leaving a worksite in 1993. Trumka and other UMW officials were charged in a $27 million wrongful death suit by Eddie York’s widow. After fighting the suit intensely for four years, UMW lawyers settled suddenly in 1997 -- just two days after the judge in the case ruled evidence in the criminal trial would be admitted.
Later, as Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Trumka pleaded the Fifth Amendment before Congress and a court-appointed election monitor over his role in an illegal fundraising scheme to benefit the Teamsters president Ron Carey’s re-election. Trumka has remained in his position ever since despite an AFL-CIO rule (adopted in 1957) which held that union officials who plead the Fifth have “no right to continue to hold office” in the union umbrella organization.
Read more about Trumka's history of condoning union violence and corruption in the Foundation's eye-opening Fact Sheet (PDF).