Samuel Gompers

As founder and 37-year president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), Samuel Gompers is credited with winning unprecedented rights and protections for the American worker. Never wavering in his belief that power for the worker lay in collective action and honest negotiation, Gompers experienced unequaled success in organizing millions of laborers into a single national organization.

Social issues Samuel Gompers addressed:

  • Unemployment
  • Civil rights
  • Child labor laws

Social issues that need to be addressed today:

  • Unemployment – The annual average unemployment rate for the civilian labor force 16 years and over was 6.2 percent in 2014. Source
  • Civil Rights – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, the workplace and by facilities that serve the general public. Even though we have made progress, prejudice and racism are still with us. The need to protect the equal rights of all is as important as ever. Source
  • Child Labor Laws – A 2010 Human Rights Watch study revealed children in the United States working in agriculture as early as age 7, 8 or 9 for a few hours at a time, and by ages 11 or 12, they were out of school and working full time. In the same study, many children said that their employers did not provide drinking water. Source