AFL-CIO AND WORLD PEACE PRIZE—IRISH PEACE FOUNDATION/IRISH NATIONAL CAUCUS
By Fr. Sean McManus
In February 1975, the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO invited me to Bal Harbour, Florida, to brief them on the Irish issue. The Executive Council on that same day endorsed the Irish National Caucus. President Meany delegated Lane Kirkland, Secretary-Treasurer, to announce the endorsement at a Caucus luncheon hosted by Labor Leaders and attended by a couple of hundred labor leaders.
Then about ten years later, the Executive Council invited me to brief them in Bal Harbour on the MacBride Principles—a corporate code of conduct for American companies doing business in Northern Ireland.
The AFL-CIO became the first significant group to endorse the Mac Bride Principles.
So, I have known every President of the AFL-CIO since George Meany to Liz Shuler.
Indeed, when we honored Ms. Esther Lopez, International Secretary-Treasurer, UFCW, with a World Peace Prize at the AFL-CIO Headquarters, February 5, 2019, then Secretary-Treasurer Shuler asked us if she could speak at our Presentation Ceremony. Of course, we were delighted and honored to accommodate her. She stated: “Thank you, Barbara Flaherty, for the kind introduction. I also want to thank Father Sean McManus for his leadership and vision, as well as Reverend Dr. Han Min Su and the entire World Peace Prize Awarding Council for everything they do to build a better world. There is a crystal-clear connection between the labor movement and peace and justice in our world.”
International President Perrone and his top team praised our honoring of Ms. Lopez in this Ad in the Honorific Journal:
“The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) proudly supports the Irish National Caucus World Peace Prize.
We salute this year’s World Peace Prize for Labor Leadership recipients, including our very own UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer Esther R. Lopez for their contribution to world peace through seeking solidarity, equality, and justice for all working men and women.”
And, President Shuler made the following statement welcoming our re-naming of the Prize to the “Richard L. Trumka World Peace Prize for Solidarity,” said: “Rich Trumka’s contributions to peace and prosperity around the world were countless. He was a global ambassador for worker rights, economic justice, dignity, and respect for all human beings. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor.” (November 8, 2021).
And, when we honored President Trumka himself with the World Peace Prize of “Roving Ambassador for Peace” —(his inaugural and formal launching of the World Peace Prize throughout the AFL-CIO/American Organized Labor), he said: “I know that Father McManus has moved the needle [on solidarity, justice, and peace in Ireland], and Father, for that I offer you, on behalf of the entire AFL-CIO, a sincere Thank you.” —President Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO, February 3, 2016.’
And, President Trumka also later stated:
“I want to thank Barbara Flaherty, Fr. McManus, and the World Peace Prize Awarding Council for recognizing the nexus between Organized Labor and peace. Too many times in the past we were not looked at as being part of the peace process. So, I really appreciate the World Peace Prize Awarding Council recognizing the connection between fighting for social justice and peace.”
—President Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO in his acceptance address on receiving the World Peace Prize for Labor Leadership at AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, DC. June 19, 2018. (To review President Trumka’s acceptance speech, go to vimeo.com/275953504)
TRUMKA FAMILY ENDORSEMENT AND PRAISE
The re-naming of the Prize has been warmly welcomed by the Trumka Family: “We are honored that Rich’s name will live on, always linked with solidarity and peace because the World Peace Prize for Solidarity will be re-named in his honor the ‘Richard L. Trumka World Peace Prize for Solidarity.'” (October 9, 2021).
And, President Trumka’s son, Rich Jr., stated: “[My father] appreciated that the World Peace Prize saw what so many others missed…that organized labor through solidarity, and the pursuit of justice, forges the path to peace.” (January 5, 2023).