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Samuel Gompers
Samuel Gompers cph.3a02952.jpg
Gompers c. 1902
Personal details
Born
Samuel Gumpertz

(1850-01-27)January 27, 1850
Spitalfields, London, England
Died December 13, 1924(1924-12-13) (aged 74)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Resting place Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Spouse(s)
  • Sophia Julian
    (m. 1867; died 1920)
  • Gertrude Gleaves
Occupation Labor leader, cigar maker
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Samuel Gompers ( Gumpertz; January 27, 1850 – December 13, 1924) 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. During World War I, Gompers and the AFL openly supported the war effort, attempting to avert strikes and boost morale while raising wage rates and expanding membership.

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