Gompers photo
Samuel Gompers was president of the American Federation of Labor for almost forty years, between 1886 and 1924, and the nation's leading trade unionist and labor spokesman.

A cigarmaker by trade, an intellectual by nature, and a skilled organizer and administrator by vocation, Gompers dedicated his life to the working class. He was a passionate advocate of shorter hours, higher wages, safe and sanitary working conditions, and collective bargaining with employers. And he believed that strong, well-financed trade unions would humanize industry, protect workers' interests, and in the process, create opportunities for workers to educate themselves and claim a larger role in industrial society. Essentially, Gompers promoted the idea that economic organization was the key to a more satisfying life, in and out of the shop.                       
 Learn more about Gompers

Read what Gompers had to say about the shorter work day

Read Gompers 1893 speech on "What Does Labor Want?"