With heavy hearts, The LIFT Fund and the Neighborhood Funders Group are in solidarity with the AFL-CIO and the labor movement to honor President Richard Trumka. President Trumka dedicated his life to fighting for workers, from his beginnings with the United Mine Workers of America, to global solidarity efforts with workers in South Africa, and through his leadership over the past 12 years at the AFL-CIO. With his commitment and vision, he forged new partnerships, took risks, and created more opportunities for workers to organize.
We are fortunate to have worked with President Trumka over the past decade through The LIFT Fund, a unique partnership between philanthropy and the AFL-CIO that supports worker-led organizations and worker centers in communities across the country. Philanthropy, with much of its amassed wealth extracted on the backs of workers, may not have been a natural ally, but with trust and vision President Trumka supported this partnership to redistribute resources to worker-led organizing and building power at the local level. The LIFT Fund has become a critical space for funders, movement, and labor leaders to continue to experiment, innovate, dream, and take risks together towards building a just economy and democracy.
“President Trumka was a fierce champion for an inclusive and vibrant labor movement that fights for all working people and communities. He deeply believed that the labor movement was for all working people- regardless of how labor laws define and restrict bargaining for certain groups and whether workers have a union officially or not. He had a strong and clear commitment that the labor movement must also be at the forefront of the movement for racial justice, gender justice, immigrant rights and social justice, and the fight for democracy. He did much to open the Union movement up to working with worker centers as part of a broad labor movement, and to deepening partnerships with racial justice and community powerbuilding organizations across the country- including grappling with the racial justice uprisings and reckonings happening in this country (and with and within the labor movement itself). And, with his support and mandate, he understood that worker solidarity and power must extend to workers globally, and supported the AFL-CIO (and its affiliates) active engagement as part of the global labor movement.
He was an important and active partner and friend to OSF and LIFT, and the work of so many of our partners. His untimely death is most certainly a loss.”
- Laine Romero-Alston, Acting Fair Work Division Director, International Migration Initiative at Open Society Foundations
“President Trumka was a larger than life figure in the labor movement who fought tirelessly for working people. His support enabled the LIFT Fund to be a unique, innovative, and collaborative space for labor and philanthropy to come together to support worker organizing. We will honor his legacy by continuing this important work and the incredible partnership we’ve built with the AFL-CIO.”
- Tracy Williams, Director at Omidyar Network
We are so saddened by this loss, and aim to honor his legacy by continuing to organize philanthropy and support worker power and the labor movement.