Samuel Gompers: 1850-1924
Samuel Gompers led the American Federation of Labor (AFL) from its inception until his death in 1924 (with the exception of one year).

Gompers began his career in the cigar makers union as a radical seeking an end to the capitalist system and ended his career a supporter of the U.S. system.

He developed the philosophy of seeking higher wages and benefits through organizations of skilled workers--or craft unions.

He was opposed within the labor movement by those seeking more radical change and to organize broader ranks of workers. Those opposing Gompers included, at various times, The Socialist Labor Party, the Socialist Party, the Industrial Workers of the World and the Workers (Communist) Party. The Congress of Industrial Organizations would later challenge his philosophy of craft unions and organize broad industrial unions during the 1930s and 1940s.
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