The American Federation of Labour - 1886
- This was the most significant development for worker's rights in the Nineteenth Century.
- It seeked to link ALLunions and eventually become the largest organisation for worker's rights.
- Its leader, Samuel Gompers, argued that to take on large corporations, labour had to harness the bargaining power of skilled workers, who were not easily replaced and to concentrate on practical goals of raising wages and reducing the long work hours.
- Whilst seeking reform through legislation, Gompers also supported the use of strikes and boycotts.
- J.P. Moragan et al, worked with Gompers to establish mediation and conciliation for workers.
- By 1914, the federation had two million members. However, this still only represented a small percentage of the industrial workforce.
- Furthermore, some unions within the AFL were powerful enough to retain a degree of independence. E.g. Teamsters Union -> this may have created divisions within the AFL.
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