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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave a strong defense of the central bank's easy-money policies on Monday, saying its "extraordinary" commitment to boosting the economy, especially the still struggling labor market, will be needed for some time to come.In her first public speech since becoming Fed chair two months ago, Yellen cited the struggles of three American workers in backing the policies of low interest rates and conti

American Federation of Labor union label poster in the early 1900s. While the AFL was deemed too conservative and too much a part of the establishment by many workers and labor activists, it still played an ongoing role as a promoter and protector of the workers' interests. Another important labor union was the ILGWU - International Ladies Garment Workers, which led the reforms following the tragic Triangle fire.


Julie Su, Litigation Director at the Asian American Justice Center of Southern California (APALC), an affiliate of the Washington D.C.-based Asian American Justice Center. Ms. Su was one of the leaders in fighting for the freedom of the Thai garment workers who were enslaved for years in an apartment complex in El Monte, California.


Cover of American Federation of Labor organizing leaflet which explained to workers their right to organize into unions of their choice, guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) of 1935.


Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, 1908 (Library of Congress)

from Millard Fillmore's Bathtub

Labor Day history

American Federation of Labor, early 1900s. Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University. Copyright Labor Arts Inc. (here under Fair Use for education). The first national Labor Day in the U.S. was in 1894, with advocacy for an eight-hour day, better working conditions, and unionization.


Oil canvas of Samuel Gompers from the New-York Historical Society. Samuel Gompers was a key labor union leader, founding the American Federation of Labor.

from The Forward

Bringing Our Labor Legacy to Life

Samuel Gompers, the founder and longtime head of the American Federation of Labor.

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters : The First Black Labor Union Chartered By The American Federation Of Labor

from Today in Labor History

June 11, 1969

June 11, 1969: Labor leader John L. Lewis dies. Born in Cleveland, IA, in 1880 to Welsh immigrant parents, Lewis went to work as a miner when he was a teenager. He worked as a mine workers’ organizer for the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and went on to serve the president of the United Mine Workers of America for 40 years. A firm believer in industrial unionism, Lewis formed the predecessor organization to what would become the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).