President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka speaks about his role in securing labor protections in the USMCA trade agreement during an interview with Reuters in Washington, December 19, 2019.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
Prominent union leaders of the AFL-CIO and United Auto Workers are publicly condemning President Donald Trump‘s supporters for storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called it “one of the greatest assaults 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 singular point in our history. The violence at the Capitol today is a deliberate and despicable attempt by extremists to disrupt our great republic,” Gamble said in a statement. “It will not succeed. We, as a nation, are stronger than this one shameful incident.”
Trumka, who has worked with the Trump administration over the last four years, largely blamed the president for instigating the actions.
“Today’s attempted coup has been years in the making as @RealDonaldTrump consistently spews venom, conspiracies, hate and lies to his supporters,” he tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “They are carrying out his wishes, and far too many Republican lawmakers have enabled and even encouraged this violent threat to our republic.”
Trumka, whose federal organization represents 12.5 million people from 55 unions, said the actions of protestors “violate the constitutional rights of every law-abiding American and the labor movement.”
Trumka was appointed a member of the White House’s Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups, created last year as part of the president’s efforts to reopen up 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 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Gamble, whose Detroit-based union represents nearly 400,000 people, urged the nation to come together.
“This is a day none of us should or will ever forget. But please let us remember that there is much work to be done — and we must take the personal responsibility to do it together,” he said. “We are the United States and unite we must. I urge us all to work together to move forward and heal our nation.”
Both the AFL-CIO and UAW last year endorsed President-elect Joe Biden over Trump.