external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSxDnXDgMYG9dfODRGxxx3MC47xjqfwhDSMWdPoHbbVipvcG3tUGvBHf0T-

The American Federation of Labor (AFL):

  • One of the major labor groups is the late 1800s

  • Established in 1881

  • Led by Samuel Gompers

  • Represented mainly skilled workers

  • Rejected the Knight's of Labor and their idea of one big union

  • Was more of an association of several independent craft unions

  • Rejected women in the paid work force; Gompers argued that they serve a greater purpose at home

  • Rejected the creation of a worker's party

  • Against government interference in labor and working conditions- believed the government would most likely repeal policies

  • Concentrated on improving relationship between workers and their employers

  • Attained its goal through collective bargaining rather than strikes

  • Supported better wages, better working conditions, and later demanded an 8 hour national work day

  • Later opposed the idea of "Industrial Unionism," which says that all workers in an industry should be a single union, regardless of what function the workers perform

Gompers photo
Gompers photo
Samuel Gompers

The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO):

  • Committee that rivaled the AFL

  • Established in 1936

  • Led by John L. Lewis, who had worked in the AFL, but walked out after fights with AFL leaders

  • Represented all workers, skilled and unskilled

  • Supported the idea of "Industrial Unionism," because unskilled workers could be a part of any function in any industry

  • More receptive to women and African Americans

  • Was "militant": organized battles (ex. Sit-Down Strikes) in certain industries, such as the automobile and steel industry

external image jll4.jpgJohn L. Lewis

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTCk8ru7KGBKF_Y6pQ8ab2CmVX2nsCIamubm1sblNs0EDF957WjXw


  • formed in 1955 when the AFL and the CIO merged after decades of differences

  • represents nearly all unionized workers in the United States