The labor movement has lost a tremendous leader, and I have lost a great friend. Rich and I worked together for decades, going back to the 1970s, when we were involved in labor disputes in Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois. Throughout his entire career, no one worked harder for America’s working families.
Rich was fearless and down-to-earth, and even though he had plenty of formal education, at his core he remained a working-class union guy and a family man. He never forgot his roots with the Mine Workers.
Those of you who were lucky enough to hear Rich give a speech in person know that he commanded a room like few others. His passion and intelligence and foresight always came through loud and clear.
The labor movement that Rich led and loved will move forward with heavy hearts – but we will move forward. As AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler put it, “Now more than ever, we must come together, as one federation, to carry out the mission Rich devoted his life to. That’s how we honor his legacy.”
Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.