tv U.S. Senate Sen. Warren Tribute to Richard Trumka CSPAN August 7, 2021 7:30pm-7:38pm EDT
women who work in this country who don't have a voice otherwise. our responsibility is to give those in the labor movement respect they deserve for fighting for the right cause. my wife and i loretta and i send our condolences to rich's wife, barb, their son and family. i understand that he was with his grandson when he was stricken this morning. as a grandfather, i will tell you it's a happy moment when you're with your grandkids and that's the way it should have been for rich. president trump's friends, his brothers -- president trumka's friends, his brothers, to all the families to which rich trumka devoted his life, we've lost a true champion. america is better for rich trumka having lived, fighting for those who worked to make america a great nation. from mas recognized. ms. warren: thank you, madam
president. i am here to honor the memory of my friend and the friend of every working person in america. rich trumka. we lost rich this morning and all i keep thinking is the kind of man we've lost and what that means to all of us. rich was real. he was a third generation coal miner who rose to become the president of the united mine workers and the president of the american federation of labor. rich was also a hunter, and he had the patience of a hunter. the planning, the long hours, sometimes long days, but always on his target. and rich -- rich was a fighter. he was relentless. when rich got in a fight, rich
never gave up. might not win every one of those fights, at least not the first time out, but he never gave up. from his growl to his laughter, rich was real all the way through. he lived his heart every single day. he was always rich. back during the financial crash in 2008-2009 and we were trying to build an idea for a consumer agency to make sure that people wouldn't get cheated next time around the way they had been in what led up to that crash. rich was there, and he was there because he had seen firsthand what it's like. he had seen his brothers and sisters in the labor movement who had lost their homes, had lost their jobs, had seen their
pensions disappear because a handful of greedy banks and feckless regulators had permitted the rich and powerful to take over our government and to take over our economy, and they brought that economy to its knees. it fell hard on working people, and rich was determined that would not happen again. i remember the day when president obama announced that they were ready to lay out the first -- first outlines of what the financial response should look like, what kind of laws we should pass here in congress in order to make sure that this didn't come again. there were a bunch of folks that were invited to the white house. i was invited. it was, like, my first time there. i'm looking around, like wow. a bunch of people crowded in.
all he cared about was, hand us a list. is there a consumer agency on this? and we get in our assigned seats. these tiny little chairs jammed together so they could get a lot of people together. rich, a man of considerable size, is sitting directly behind me. we're on the aisle both of us. and we're furiously going through it to see what's there and, sure enough, the white house has said there's going to be a consumer agency or at least that's what they're going to ask for. so i'm smiling. i turn around, i say, you see? , you see this? he said, yeah. you know, it makes me a little nervous for you to be right behind me here. and he leaned over and he whispered in my ear, and he said, i'll always have your back, elizabeth. and i reach back and patted him on leg.
and it was true. i never got in a fight for working people that rich trumka wasn't already there, that he was already in that fight, that he already saw what was happening to, working people on the ground and what it was that we needed our government to do by way of response. rich fought for decades for working people. it was his true north. he never varied from that. he never wanted anything for himself. all he wanted to do was to see workers get more power so that they were playing on a level playing field, to see workers be able to work in safe conditions, to see workers get a chance to build some real security for themselves and for their families. rich measured everything that came his way against that test.
what's it going to do for working people? and if you can show him that this is going to help working people, rich was in it all the way. during covid-19, rich was here back-and-forth, back-and-forth trying to push this government to get more worker safety in place, more regulations that were going to protect people so people weren't out there dying trying to do their jobs. rich was there trying to protect the economic security of workers, people who'd been laid off, people who'd been shut out of the workplace. it was rich who helped lead the charge. watch out for working families. he didn't need the glory. he didn't need the spotlight. but, boy, he was in there pushing in the way that only rich truck can a -- rich trumka could do it. rich understood that when we put workers at the center of our policies, then families win. when we put workers at the center of our policies, then our
economy wins. when we put workers at the center of our policies, then our nation wins. that's how rich lived, and that's how rich died. to rich's family, i am so sorry for your loss. for rich's brothers and sisters in the labor movement, i am so sorry for your loss. rich is gone, and that is a hard blow you to and to our whole nation. and this is the moment to honor rich's legacy, not just with words but by staying in the fights thatic