This Memo Explains How to Chauffeur the Leaders of the AFL-CIO, Which 'Is An Honor'

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As president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka is America’s most prominent representative of the interests of the working class. The following document explains exactly how he is to be chauffeured around by staffers who are told they should be “proud” to act as his driver.

Trumka has been the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest federation of labor unions, since 2009, and as such is the de facto face of America’s labor movement.


Splinter obtained the following memo, written in 2018, which instructs AFL-CIO staffers how they are to drive around the federation’s officers. (The memo presumably applies to all three of the top officers, but Trumka is the only officer whose preferences are detailed in the memo.) Sources say that when Trumka travels on business, an AFL-CIO staffer—such as a communications staffer, or a field mobilization staffer, or a staff member at a state labor federation—is often detailed to serve as his driver. This memo tells staffers exactly how to fulfill that assignment, which they are told that they should be “proud” to have been chosen for. It begins:

Officer Travel Memorandum

Congratulations! You have been given the assignment to drive one of the AFL-CIO officers. This is an honor and you should be proud you have been chosen. The key to the success of this mission is preparation. Truly, the majority of the work of this detail is completed prior to the officer’s arrival.

Once you receive the assignment, work with your supervisor or, the officer’s staff to attain all trip information including: flight numbers, travel itinerary, event location information, hotel details, and all other necessary trip information. As you prepare for this assignment, it is critical that you are thinking 1 or 2 steps ahead of every movement of the officer and anticipate officer needs along the trip. Below you will find a check list that you will utilize as an essential tool for your assignment.

What follows is this 21-point checklist:


The AFL-CIO’s Energy Committee has publicly opposed the Green New Deal, so the “Full Size SUV” is not an instance of hypocrisy.


The document then lists the items that the staffer is instructed to have ready in the car. As you can see in the version below, the list began with 21 items. A digital version of the memo shows that an AFL-CIO staffer edited the original list down to a mere six items necessary to have on hand:


Finally, the memo instructs staffers what to feed the officers:


And that is how you chauffeur the leader of the working class.

An AFL-CIO spokesperson declined to comment.

Recently, some former AFL-CIO staffers have suggested that Richard Trumka is out of touch.


My colleagues and I are members of the Writers Guild of America, East, which is a member union of the AFL-CIO.

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Hamilton Nolan

Senior Writer.