Samuel Gompers (January 27, 1850 - December 13, 1924) was an English-born American cigar maker who became a labor union leader and a key figure in American labor history. Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and served as the organization's president from 1886 to 1894 and from 1895 until his death in 1924. He promoted harmony among the different craft unions that comprised the AFL, trying to minimize jurisdictional battles. He promoted "thorough" organization and collective bargaining to secure shorter hours and higher wages, the first essential steps, he believed, to emancipating labor. He also encouraged the AFL to take political action to "elect their friends" and "defeat their enemies." During World War I, Gompers and the AFL openly supported the war effort, attempting to avoid strikes and boost morale while raising wage rates and expanding membership. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
Do I believe in arbitration? I do. But not in arbitration between the lion and the lamb, in which the lamb is in the morning found inside the lion.
Doing for people what they can and ought to do for themselves is a dangerous experiment. In the last analysis, the welfare of the workers depends upon their own initiative. Whatever is done under the guise of philanthropy or social morality which in any way lessens initiative is the greatest crime that can be committed against the toilers. Let social busybodies and professional 'public morals experts' in their fads reflect upon the perils they rashly invite under this pretense of social welfare.
I am very suspicious of the activities of governmental agencies.
I do not think American labor is engaged in a class struggle and I do not think American labor believes it is engaged in a class struggle, because in our country we have no such thing and I hope never will have.
I love my liberty, and imprisonment would be, to say the least, very disagreeable to me; but there are some things that are even less desirable, among them one's loss of self-respect and the loss of inherent and lawful constitutional right
Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.
No race of barbarians ever existed yet offered up children for money.
One fact stands out in bold relief in the history of man's attempts for betterment. That is that when compulsion is used, only resentment is aroused, and the end is not gained. Only through moral suasion and appeal to man's reason can a movement succeed.
Show me the country that has no strikes and I'll show you the country in which there is no liberty.
That which we call freedom, that which we call liberty, are not tangible things. They are not handed to any people on a silver platter. They are principles, they are questions of the spirit, and the people must have a consciousness that they not only have the term liberty and freedom, but they must have the power and the right to exercise these great attributes of life.
The industrial field is littered with more corpses of organizations destroyed by the damning influences of partisan politics than from all other causes combined.
The man who has his millions will want everything he can lay his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day.
The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.
There is not a right too long denied to which we do not aspire in order to achieve; there is not a wrong too long endured that we are not determined to abolish.
Time is the most valuable thing on earth: time to think, time to act, time to extend our fraternal relations, time to become better men, time to become better women, time to become better and more independent citizens.
We do want more, and when it becomes more, we shall still want more. And we shall never cease to demand more until we have received the results of our labor.
What does labor want? We want more school houses and less jails. More books and less guns. More learning and less vice. More leisure and less greed. More justice and less revenge.
When a man puts a pistol to my head and tells me to deliver, there is no arbitration.
Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected.
Why should the wealth of the country be stored in banks and elevators while the idle workman wanders homeless about the streets and the idle loafers who hoard the gold only to spend it on riotous living are rolling about in fine carriages from which they look out on peaceful meetings and call them riots?