Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Samuel Gompers (1850 - 1924)

What does labor want?

We want more schoolhouses and less jails.

More books and less arsenals.

More learning and less vice.

More leisure and less greed.

More justice and less revenge.

In fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures.

We do want more, and when it becomes more, we shall still want more.
And we shall never cease to demand more until we have received the results of our labor."

- Samual Gompers, Chicago, August 28, 1893

Samuel Gompers was the first and longest-serving president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL); it is to him, as much as to anyone else, that the American labor movement owes its structure and characteristic strategies. Under his leadership, the AFL became the largest and most influential labor federation in the world. It grew from a marginal association of 50,000 in 1886 to an established organization of nearly 3 million in 1924 that had won a permanent place in American society. In a society renowned for its individualism and the power of its employer class, he forged a self-confident workers' organization dedicated to the principles of solidarity and mutual aid. It was a singular achievement.

No comments: