Knights of Labor American Federation of Labor

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Knights of Labor

American Federation of Labor


(What type of people belonged to this union?)

Men, women, whites, blacks, skilled, unskilled, citizens, immigrants

Skilled workers from many industries,


(Who were the leaders of this union?)

Uriah Stevens, Terence Powderly, James Sovereign

Samuel Gompers, William Greene


(What did this union hope to achieve?)

Abolishing child labor, equal pay for equal work, 8-hour work day, creation of a Bureau of Labor Statistics in the federal government

Higher wages, shorter hours, other economics issues


(What would members do in order to achieve their goals?)

boycotts, cooperatives, though they did not support strikes they did use strikes sometimes, legislative pressure (used after Haymarket)

negotiated labor contracts, strike only when necessary, focused on day-to-day working conditions instead of social or business practices, collective bargaining, closed shop


(What did this union involve itself in? What were some of the events that took place as a result of this union?)

Second strike against Jay Gould’s railroad empire and the Haymarket Square Riot in May 1886 destroyed the reputation and support of the union, most members joined the AFL or local trade unions comprised of skilled workers

Congress passed labor laws, but the Supreme Court overruled some, merged with the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) in 1955, did achieve better working conditions (minimum wage, maximum working hours, workers compensation, end to child labor = all during the 1930s)

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