Estate Tax Speaker: Richard Trumka

Estate Tax Speaker: Richard Trumka

Age: 60
Education: BS Pennsylvania State University, JD Villanova Law School
Hometown: Rockville, MD

Richard TrumkaRichard Trumka, a third-generation coal miner from Nemacolin, Penn., began working in the mines at age 19. In 1982, Trumka was elected president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). As president of UMWA he led a very successful strike against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to avoid paying into an industry-wide health and pension fund. His committed use of non-violent civil disobedience motivated the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change to award Trumka their 1990 Labor Responsibility Award. Trumka won passage of the federal COAL Act that provides guaranteed health care for retired miners. He brought the UMWA back into the AFL-CIO.

In 1995, Trumka was elected the youngest AFL-CIO Treasury Secretary ever. In this position, he created investment programs for the pension and benefit funds of the labor movement, and fought excessive corporate profits. He urged creation of, and chairs, the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, a consortium of manufacturing unions focusing on key issues in trade, health care and labor law reform.

In 2009, Trumka was elected president of the AFL-CIO. He pledged to engage workers in a bottom-up effort to strengthen unions, and to reach out to women and minorities to make the labor movement a reflection of the nation’s evolving workforce.

Trumka has been a key part of White House economic initiatives starting in 1993, when President Clinton established the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform and nominated Mr. Trumka to serve on the commission.  Most recently, President Obama in 2009 named Trumka to the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker.

Trumka joined more than 5000 people who support a strong estate tax in signing Responsible Wealth’s “Call to Preserve the Estate Tax.”

He and his wife Barbara have a son, Richard, Jr., who is a 2009 graduate of Georgetown University Law School.