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Uss SAMUEL GOMPERS CAD 371 is the f3fSf U5-
Navy ship named for a great American WhO devoted 1115
life to the labor movement and American ideals.
Samuel Gompers was born in London on 27 january
1850 and was apprenticed to a cigar maker in 1863. The
following year, at the age of 14, Gompers became associat-
ed with the labor movement. He helped organize and be-
came the president of the Cigarmakers International
Union, which was a model for other unions to follow.
In 1881, Gompers served as chairman of an organiza-
tion that evolved into the Federation of Organized Trades
and Labor Unions ofthe United States and Canada. It was
reorganized and renamed the American Federation of La-
bor QAFLJ in 1886. Gompers was elected president of the
AFL and served in that capacity for more than four dec-
ades as the official head of the American labor movement.
Before the AFL was founded, the labor movement was
fragmented into small individual unions throughout the
country, all working without much cooperation with each
other. Upon formation of the AFL, Gompers took the
helm as its president and welded the labor movement into
a single unit that became a power in the commercial, indus-
trial and political life of the United States.
Gompers believed in the ideals of America and taught
patriotism to all his followers. He kept the labor movement
on a conservative footing and free from radicalism.
A fearless advocate of right and a great humanitarian,
he was also a great lighter. Gompers strove for peace in
American industry, setting an example for others to fol-
low. His work for nearly half a century was dedicated to
advancing' the lot of laborers, both men and women. His
firm conviction that labor could never displace manage-
ment made it possible for h' '
im to successfully negotiate
Gompers' life was a tribute to the contributions that
4 Samuel Gompers
foreign-born Americans have made to the United 5135.
He never forgot the American flag, and the ideals Q
which it stands, throughout his life. f l