By: Nick Brock and Shane Berger United States History Samuel Gompers Industrial Revolution Project
Samuel Gompers was born into a lower class Jewish family on January 27 th , 1850.
He was born in London, England.
His parents, Sarah Rood and Solomon Gompers, both were immigrants to England from Holland.
Due to Gompers’ family’s extreme poverty, Samuel went to a free Jewish school from the time he was 6 years old until he was 10 years old.
When Gompers first began work, he was an assistant to a shoemaker.
Gompers family on the Move
In 1863, the Gompers’ family saw the opportunity of living in the United States and they moved from London, to New York City.
The family lived in the Lower East side of Manhattan. This area was booming with European immigrants.
Samuel’s first job in America was as a Cigar maker.
He considered that making cigars was an education.
Joined the Cigar- Makers’ Union in 1864.
Joining the union increased Gompers’ educational background. This was due to the fact that the union required discussions which included the economy, providing a good source of schooling.
The Cigar- Makers’ Union was his first breath as being a labor leader.
American Federation of Labor (AFL)
The AFL was a union for workers which helped them toward getting higher wages. It also looked upon improving the every day life of it’s members.
The AFL consisted of 50,000 people at the beginning and around 3 million people by his death.
The AFL used different strategies for backing their views. Some examples include strikes, boycotts, and negotiations.
These were ways of requesting better work conditions, higher salaries and better job security. They also requested work benefits for the many employed persons of the United States.
AFL’s affect on America
The AFL’s efforts had an overall positive affect on the United States. These efforts introduced minimum wages, extra pay for those working overtime, safety in the work place, and job security regulations.
The End of Gompers Life
Gompers’ had been suffering from diabetes, heart failure and kidney failure for nearly a year.
Gompers’ collapsed in a meeting in Mexico City, he was not expected to live long after the collapse. He wanted to die on American soil, and he was taken on a special train that took him to San Antonio, Texas. He was suffering from an abnormal heart beating. He stayed awake through the night and once in a while, talked about how he wanted his funeral arrangements. Surrounded by 15 AFL vice presidents, and more staff and union presidents, and after a few more complications, Gompers’ died.