Unionism Quotes

 The trade union movement represents the organized economic power of the workers... It is in reality the most potent and the most direct social insurance the workers can establish. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 Any kind of an old loft served as a cigar shop. If there were enough windows, we had sufficient light for our work; if not, it was apparently no concern of the management. Cigar shops were always dusty from the tobacco stems and powdered leaves. Benches and work tables were not designed to enable the workmen to adjust bodies and arms comfortably to work surface. Each workman supplied his own cutting board of lignum vitae and knife blade. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 The tobacco leaf was prepared by strippers who drew the leaves from the heavy stem and put them into pads of about fifty. The leaves had to be handled carefully to prevent tearing. The craftsmanship of the cigarmaker was shown in his ability to utilize wrappers to the best advantage to shave off the unusable to a hairbreadth, to roll so as to cover holes in the leaf and to use both hands so as to make a perfectly shaped and rolled product. These things a good cigarmaker learned to do more or less mechanically, which left us free to think, talk, listen, or sing. I 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 or to pour out my feelings in song. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 I remember asking Laurrell whether in his opinion I ought to keep in touch with the Socialist movement. He replied, 'Go to their meetings by all means, listen to what they have to say and understand them, but do not join the Party.' I never did, though it was my habit to attend their Saturday evening meetings. There were often good speakers present and the discussions were stimulating. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 Time and again, under the lure of new ideas, I went to Laurrell with glowing enthusiasm. Laurrel would gently say, 'Study your union card, Sam, and if the idea doesn't square with that, it ain't true.' My trade union card came to be my standard in all new problems. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 Perhaps the severest critic of Socialism was Karl Marx and his denunciations of the Socialists in attacking trade unions has no superior even in our time. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 Karl Marx grasped the principle that the trade union was the immediate and practical agency which could bring wage-earners a better life. Whatever modifications Marx may have taught in his philosophical writings, as a practical policy he urged the formation of trade unions and the use of them to deal with the problems of the labor movement. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 The time has come when we must assert our rights as workingmen. Every one present has the sad experience, that we are powerless in an isolated condition, while the capitalists are united; therefore it is the duty of every Cigar Maker to join the organization. One of the main objects of the organization is the elevation of the lowest paid worker to the standard of the highest, and in time we may secure for every person in the trade an existence worthy of human beings. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 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. We want more opportunities to cultivate our better natures. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 There are about 8,000,000 negroes in the United States, and, my friends, I not only have not the power to put the negro out of the labor movement, but I would not, even if I did have the power. ... Why should I do such a thing? I would have nothing to gain, but the movement would have much to lose. Under our policies and principles we seek to build up the labor movement, instead of injuring it, and we want all the negroes we can possibly get who will join hands with organized labor. 
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  
 No lasting gain has ever come from compulsion. If we seek to force, we but tear apart that which united, is invincible. There is no way whereby our labor movement may be assured sustained progress in determining its policies and its plans other than sincere democratic deliberation until a unanimous decision is reached. This may seem a cumbrous, slow method to the impatient, but the impatient are more concerned for immediate triumph than for the education of constructive development.  
Author: Samuel Gompers
Nationality: American
b. 27 January 1850  - d. 13 December 1924
  




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