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Although the labor movement would not fully recover from these early blows until the 1930s an enduring union did emerge in 1886. The American Federation of Labor was led by a former cigar maker named Samuel Gompers (1850-1924). What set this union apart from the Knights of Labor was that it did not attempt to lump together all trades, skilled and unskilled. Recognizing that working people had certain common interests, but also had differing needs, the AFL existed as a coordinating group for separate trades. The union, which agitated for an eight-hour day, workmens compensation, controls on immigrant labor, and protection from technological unemployment created by automation, exists today as the AFL-CIO.

The Great Strikes | Complete Idiots Guide to American History | I Won t Work