AFL-CIO, UAW leaders condemn actions by Trump supporters on the US Capitol

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks in an interview with Reuters on December 19, 2019 in Washington about his role in safeguarding occupational safety in the USMCA trade agreement.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Prominent union leaders from the AFL-CIO and United Auto Workers are publicly condemning supporters of President Donald Trump for storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called it “one of the biggest attacks on our democracy since the civil war”. UAW President Rory Gamble described it as “a very sad day for our nation and our democracy”.

“This is truly a unique point in our history. The violence in today’s Capitol is a conscious and despicable attempt by extremists to disrupt our great republic,” Gamble said in a statement. “It won’t work. We as a nation are stronger than this one shameful incident.”

Trumka, who has worked with the Trump administration for the past four years, largely accused the president of instigating the actions.

“Today’s attempted coup took years, as @RealDonaldTrump repeatedly spits out poison, conspiracies, hatred and lies to his supporters,” he tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “You are granting his wishes, and far too many Republican lawmakers have made this violent threat to our republic possible and even encouraged.”

Trumka, whose federal organization represents 12.5 million people from 55 unions, said the protesters’ actions “violate the constitutional rights of every law-abiding American and the labor movement.”

Trumka has been named a member of the White House’s Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups, which were formed last year as part of the president’s efforts to reopen parts of the U.S. economy during the coronavirus pandemic. He also worked with the administration to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement now known as the US-Mexico-Canada Accord.

Gamble, whose Detroit-based union represents nearly 400,000 people, called on the nation to come together.

“This is a day none of us should or will ever forget. But please remember that there is still much to be done – and we must take personal responsibility to do it together,” he said. “We are the United States and we must unite. I urge all of us to work together to move forward and heal our nation.”

Both the AFL-CIO and the UAW approved President-Elect Joe Biden over Trump last year.

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