The American Federation of Labor


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The American Federation of Labor was a "union of unions."  Founded in 1886, the A.F. of L. was the largest labor organization in the United States in 1912.  Its president was Samuel Gompers (a Dutch-Jewish immigrant who was a cigar maker by trade).  Gompers sought to strengthen the union movement more generally by winning "bread and butter" gains--better hours--especially the 8 hour day and the 48 hour work week--better wages, and better working conditions.