Of his work as a cigar maker, Samuel Gompers said that he ‘loved the freedom of that work, for I had earned the mind-freedom that accompanied skill as a craftsman. I was eager to learn from discussion and reading.
He met another cigar maker, Sophia Julian and they married. Gompers was 17. He and his wife had twelve children, six who survived to adulthood.
A believer is social reform, he believed the best way to improve quality of work and the condition of society was for the workers to collectively bargain by way of unions. He was elected president of the Cigar Makers International Union.
In 1886, he was elected president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and remained president for 40 years. His efforts helped to establish an eight hour work day and was instrumental in organizing labor to respond to President Woodrow Wilson’s needs during World War I.
For more about Samuel Gompers, visit: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/238225/Samuel-Gompers