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Samuel Gompers

Samuel Gompers

Samuel Gompers

Samuel Gompers

As American labor leader Samuel Gompers, and others, began to form unions and push for a shorter workday and a closed shop to limit the power of companies, American labor history was born, including the 8-hour workday and the 40-hour work week, minimum wage, paid vacation and sick leave, as well as the strong labor unions that fought for these advances.

Afl

voluntarism,” which called for unions to exert coercion by economic actions—that is, through strikes and boycotts. In 1886 Gompers fostered the separation of the cigar makers and other craft unions from the Knights of Labor to form the AFL, of which he was president from 1886 to 1924 (except for one year, 1895). He distrusted intellectual reformers, fearing their influence would divert labour’s efforts away from economic goals. To make unionism respectable as a bulwark against radicalism and irresponsible strikes, he encouraged binding written trade agreements and advocated the primacy of national organizations over both local unions and international affiliations.

Gompers kept the AFL politically neutral until pressed by employer tactics, including an open-shop drive, and by federal court injunctions that greatly weakened labour’s economic weapons, such as the strike, picket line, and boycott. The Democratic presidential platform of 1908 included an anti-injunction plank; hence, Gompers supported William Jennings Bryan’s unsuccessful presidential candidacy. Better political conditions for labour would follow: the victory of Woodrow Wilson in 1912 brought the creation of a U.S. cabinet post for labour (1913), followed by the Clayton Antitrust Act (1914) and passage of the (Source: www.britannica.com)

Cigar

was a British-born American cigar maker, labor union leader and a key figure in American labor history. Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and served as the organization's president from 1886 to 1894, and from 1895 until his death in 1924. He promoted harmony among the different craft unions that comprised the AFL, trying to minimize jurisdictional battles. He promoted through organization and collective bargaining, to secure shorter hours and higher wages, the first essential steps, he believed, to emancipating labor. He also encouraged the AFL to take political action to "elect their friends" and "defeat their enemies". He mostly supported Democrats, but sometimes Republicans. He strongly opposed Socialists, and he was particularly opposed to immigrants from China, spreading racist arguments about their supposed inferiority.

When he was six, Samuel was sent to the Jewish Free School, where he received a basic education. His elementary school career was brief, however, since a mere three months after his tenth birthday Gompers was removed from school and sent to work as an apprentice cigar maker to help earn money for his impoverished family. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

 

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