Durbin Honors Life And Legacy Of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today paid tribute on the Senate floor to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who passed away at the age of 72. In his remarks, Durbin spoke from his own personal experience about the power of unions to support working families across America. Durbin went on to highlight Trumka’s years of dedication to workers and the prominent legacy he leaves behind as a giant in the labor movement. 

“When I grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, I knew I was from a railroad family because both my mom and dad worked for the railroads. I knew I had a pretty comfortable life. I’ve come to learn that we weren’t by any means rich, but we did well enough…I also knew that we were a union family, and I didn’t realize until much later in life a couple of facts. Number one, there were a lot of families around us that weren’t that lucky. We were fortunate to be a union family. And secondly, with the union – what the union did for our family in East St. Louis, Illinois, it did for millions of families across America throughout our history…I believe that more than any other force in American history, the American labor movement, the union movement, created the middle class in America. I’m living proof of that,” Durbin reflected.

“He [Trumka] was fighting for working people across the United States night and day endlessly, 24/7. He was on the side of workers who built America’s roads and bridges…who kept our power plants running, our schools, homes, offices running. He always asked one basic thing – respect and fairness for working men and women…He was a giant who led the labor movement in America through one of the most challenging periods in our history when his leadership was needed the most. It’s on us now, isn’t it?” Durbin said of Trumka’s legacy.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV stations.