The passing of labor legend Rich Trumka was a shock to many. Last Friday, Liz Schuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, was appointed as the organization’s new President.
Fred Redmond was appointed to fill Schuler’s role as AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer.
Tom Buffenbarger, America’s Work Force Union Podcast independent labor voice, joined today’s episode to discuss Trumka’s legacy and why the federation is in good hands under the leadership of Schuler and Redmond.
Schuler and Redmond well qualified to take torch
Buffenbarger has known Trumka personally since the late ‘70s as a mine worker before Trumka went on to lead the United Mine Workers in the ‘80s. He remembered Trumka as a bright, talented and gifted individual and lover of the outdoors. It was through hunting and fishing that Buffenbarger got to know Trumka well.
Trumka was dedicated to workers and lived his life fighting for unions, Buffenbarger recalled.
Trumka left the federation in good hands. Buffenbarger said he is a huge supporter of Schuler — a sharp leader who will do right for working people. She has helped unions during some of the hardest times since the Great Depression, he pointed out. She has successfully managed the funds for the organization as secretary-treasurer, and she will do a great job as president of the federation, Buffenbarger stated.
Likewise, the board could not have had a better choice to fill Schumer’s shoes than Redmond, Buffenbarger said. His experience with a large union as International Vice-President for International Affairs of the United Steelworkers helps him understand the needs of the AFL-CIO.
The two newly appointed officers have a huge job in front of them, Buffenbarger acknowledged. But he is confident both are highly qualified and will succeed.
Biden could use more Democratic support on Afghanistan
Finally, Buffenbarger discussed America’s departure from Afghanistan and how more must be done to support President Biden in his efforts.
Buffenbarger said he is upset with both Democrats and Republicans for not rallying around the President during this crisis. The focus should be solely on getting Americans and allies out of the country, Buffenbarger stated, adding that he is concerned the issue will distract Democrats in particular from the bigger picture of infrastructure, workers rights and protecting the right to vote.