Who is the AFL-CIO president?

Trumka, 70, grew up in a family of Pennsylvania coal miners

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The AFL-CIO is the nation's largest labor union.

It has more than 12.5 million members in 55 unions, including National Nurses United, the largest registered nurses union. So that makes its president, Richard Trumka, one of the most powerful voices in American labor.

He's held the office since 2009.

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Trumka, 70, grew up in a family of Pennsylvania coal miners and worked in mines while attending Penn State University, and then, Villanova University law school.

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO speaks to members of the news media as he departs after a meeting with U.S.President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar

"I've been in the labor movement my whole life," Trumka told The Philadelphia Inquirer before he was elected AFL-CIO president. "I know the issues. I know the people."

Trumka started his career as a labor leader in 1982 after being elected president of the United Mine Workers of America. Under Trumka, the UMWA went on strike against Pennsylvania's Pittston Coal Company until the company reinstated health care benefits for retirees, widows and disabled miners in 1990.

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A few years later, Trumka rose to AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer.

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Trumka has taken to the airwaves to ask the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for an emergency temporary standard to protect workers.

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"A disease standard would require [employers] to have a plan, train employees and provide protective equipment," Trumka told "Mornings with Maria" in April. "It will vary with each one of the industries and, quite frankly, could vary by employer."

AFL-CIO's demand for the standard culminated with a lawsuit against OSHA filed in May.

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