American Federation of Labor and Industrial Workers of the World

838 WordsNov 11, 20084 Pages
“American Federation of Labor and Industrial Workers of the World” The American Federation of Labor was an association of trade unions starting 1886, rising out of an earlier Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions founded in 1881. The AFL's president, Samuel Gompers, was convinced that unions open to workers of all types of skills within a given industry,called industrial unions,were too undisciplined to withstand the tactics that both government and management had used to break American unions in the past. The answer, was craft unions, each limited to the skilled workers in a single trade. According to Gompers's "pure and simple unionism," labor should not waste its energies fighting capitalism; I ts sole task was to hammer…show more content…
This group, which became the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), grew so powerful that the AFL expelled the ten CIO unions in 1937. The AFL and CIO continued as separate organizations during World War II but were reunited in 1955. The AFL--CIO was now the nation's dominant labor organization, but this achievement was already being undermined by changes in the American economy and work force--most notably, the growing loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector where unions had been strongest. In 1945 nearly one-third of American workers belonged to a union; by 1990 the proportion had fallen to less than one-fifth. The IWW was founded in Chicago by a convention of delegates from workers' unions representing 40 different trades. Among the unions that played principal roles in its establishment were the old Western Federation of Miners, the American Labor Union, and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, composed of trade unions and socialist groups. The outstanding labor leaders at the founding convention included Eugene Victor Debs, William Dudley Haywood, and Daniel De Leon. The aim of the IWW was to include in its membership the entire industrial population of the U.S. The organizational plan provided for seven departments: agriculture, mining, transportation, building, manufacturing, public service, and distribution of foodstuffs. Each department was subdivided into various constituent industries,

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