Trumka, Richard Louis

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Richard Louis Trumka, 1949–, U.S. labor leader, b. Nemacolin, Pa., grad. Pennsylvania State Univ. (B.S., 1971), Villanova Univ. (J.D., 1974). A third-generation miner, he worked as a United Mine Workers (UMW) staff lawyer after graduating from law school then returned to the mines (1979–81) and rose through the UMW ranks to win the union presidency as a reformer in 1982. Regarded as combative and intelligent, he led a successful strike (Apr., 1989–Feb., 1990) against the Pittston Coal Group that was notable for its use of civil disobedience. In 1995 he was elected American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations secretary-treasurer as part of John J. Sweeney's insurgent slate. Trumka succeeded Sweeney as AFL-CIO president in 2009.