The American Federation of Labor

The American Federation of Labor was founded by 26 craft unions on this date in 1886. Samuel Gompers, a Dutch-born Jew and head of the Cigar Makers’ International Union, was elected its president. The AFL was a breakaway movement, established by union activists who had grown disgruntled with the Knights of Labor (K of L), a […]

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November 24: The Cigar Makers Union

Samuel Gompers was elected president of the Cigar Makers’ International Union, Local 144, in New York on this date in 1875. The union had reorganized itself after two decades of struggle with a piecework system and the constant arrival of  immigrant laborers from Bohemia. During the economic crisis of 1877, a four-month lockout by the […]

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