Samuel Gompers

Topics: Trade union, Industrial unionism, Collective bargaining Pages: 4 (1233 words) Published: April 21, 2002
Labor leader and advocate of legislative labor reform, Samuel Gompers was globally recognized for being a cornerstone in the sustaining legacy that is the American Federation of Labor. Gompers was born to a Jewish working class couple in London on the 27th of January in 1850. His childhood was short lived, for he was forced to mature early on. After only four years of receiving an elementary school education, Gompers was taken in and apprenticed to a shoemaker at the age of ten. He would quickly switch off trades and become apprenticed to a cigar maker in the east end of London; Gompers would continue with the cigar trade for a quarter of a century.

Samuel arrived in New York armed with a solid trade skill and a series of British union principles, which stemmed from his father's teachings. He would further develop these vital tools and skills through active involvement in social clubs, fraternal orders, and labor unions. These affiliations were taken as a measure to endure and possibly find some success in the slums in the lower eastside of New York.

Samuel gained much respect from his coworkers for he became highly skilled in his profession. He was also praised for his organizational skills and leadership potential. This prompted Gompers to join the Cigar Maker's International Union in 1864. Ten years later, he help founded the local 144 of the International Union, of which he was a lifelong member. He was also easily elected as President of that particular chapter of the union.

During the labor movement of the 1870's, Gompers set some time aside to find tune his ideologies on organized labor. He sought an approach to organizing workers through utilizing influences from several different angles. The major influences that provided a large impact on Gompers were that of British trade union principles and certain aspects of the Marxist perspective. Gompers never claimed to be a true Marxist, but he agreed with their emphasis on establishing...
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