Trumka reelected AFL-CIO president

LOS ANGELES — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Tuesday was reelected to a second term as head of the labor federation.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler was also elected to her second term as No. 2 for the labor group. Also part of Trumka’s slate of candidates, Tefere Gebre, executive director of the Orange County Labor Federation, won the labor federation’s No. 3 spot, replacing the retiring AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker.

With no other nominees opposing Trumka and his candidates, the three were declared winners as a party atmosphere took over the Los Angeles Convention Center. In between pop music and standing ovations were rip-roaring speeches nominating and seconding Trumka as well as the other candidates. 

Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), stepped forward to nominate Trumka, “my best friend of the past 40 years.” Trumka was UMWA president before joining the AFL-CIO leadership as secretary-treasurer in 1995.

Growing hoarse from screaming and shaking his fists, Roberts expounded on the value of unions.

“If you want to be able to stand up and fight back, join a union,” Roberts yelled. The mine workers union president said he “proudly” submitted Trumka for the AFL-CIO presidency.

“It’s time, brothers and sisters, to get off our asses and get on our feet and get out the door and hit the street,” Roberts said.

Supporters waved red signs with “Trumka Shuler Gebre” in blue lettering in the aisles. Each candidate was declared victorious to whoops and hollers, capped off with standing ovations.

Trumka’s nomination was seconded by Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Saunders said Trumka “can easily go from the White House to the boardroom to the picket line.”

Like Roberts, Saunders rallied convention attendees, telling them they are “the game-changers,” “the agitators” and “the revolutionaries” to cheers from the crowd.

Trumka and his team now have a four-year term ahead of them. They will be up for election again in 2017 if they choose to run again.