11 - American Federation of Labor (AFL), 1886-present [with...

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9/14/11 RISE OF LABOR UNIONS Changing scale of operations, erosion of personal relationships National Labor Union, 1866-72 o Leader: Iron molder Wm. Sylvis o Peak Membership: claimed 640,000 realistically maybe half of that o Weaknesses: never accepted wage system; co-op shops, unsuccessful attempt to support greenback party Knights of Labor, 1869-1890 o Leader Terence V Powderly o Peak Membership: 1886: 730,000 o Approach weaknesses: Initially secret lodges, 1879 went public Organized geographically, open to all “producing classes” including women Officially rejected wage system, in practice more pragmatic Blamed for Haymarket riot although not responsible
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Unformatted text preview: American Federation of Labor (AFL), 1886-present [with CIO] o Leader: Samuel Gompers, pres. 1886-1924, except 1895 o Approach: pragmatic, most successful Accept wage system, public opinion was important Craft organization, primarily skilled Politics: individualized, no labor party Supported strikes but were disciplined with them Strike during prosperity o Limitations: poorest workers least organized <20% of total Immigrants made up over half of the industry Most needy benefit least Didnt organize for blacks or women...
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