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The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national federation of labor unions in the United States. It was founded in Columbus, Ohio, in May 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor association. Samuel Gompers of the Cigar Makers' International Union was elected president of the Federation at its founding convention and was reelected every year except one until his death in 1924. The AFL was the largest union grouping in the United States for the first half of the 20th century, even after the creation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) by unions that were expelled by the AFL in 1935 over its opposition to industrial unionism. While the Federation was founded and dominated by craft unions throughout the first fifty years of its existence, many of its craft union affiliates turned to organizing on an industrial union basis to meet the challenge from the CIO in the 1940s.

In 1955, the AFL merged with its longtime rival, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, to form the AFL-CIO, a federation which remains in place to this day. Together with the new union, the AFL has comprised the longest lasting and most influential labor federation in the United States.


American Federation of Labor sections
Intro  Organizational history  Historical problems  Historical achievements  Presidents of the American Federation of Labor  Affiliated unions and brotherhoods  See also  Footnotes  Bibliography and further reading  External links  

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