Cover for Gompers: The Samuel Gompers Papers, Volume 10: The American Federation of Labor and the Great War, 1917-18. Click for larger image

The Samuel Gompers Papers, Volume 10

The American Federation of Labor and the Great War, 1917-18

Important shifts in labor history before, during, and after wartime

Volume 10 of the Samuel Gompers Papers focuses on the AFL's struggle to serve the nation and the labor movement during the critical period when American neutrality gave way to war. Beginning with Gompers' last minute effort to persuade German workers to avoid war with the United States, it follows the labor movement's internal debate over the meaning of American participation and the Executive Council's pragmatic--and in some cases reluctant--pledge of support, offered just weeks before war was declared.

This volume also charts the evolution of a new relation between organized labor and the federal government: Acknowledging organized labor's vital role in the war effort, government now supported labor-adjustment boards that upheld the eight-hour day, equal pay for equal work, and labor's right to organize and bargain collectively with employers. As organized labor's main spokesman in Washington, Gompers played a central role in the development of wartime labor policies, with an eye to increasing production, reducing industrial conflict, and advancing labor's wage and hour standards.

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