Advance of Organized Labor
Organized labor in America first won significant political and economic recognition in the two decades after 1897, and achieved strength beyond anything hitherto attained. The growing development of organized labor rested on other factors as well as increasing membership. Samuel Gompers stamped his philosophy, program, and personality so deeply upon the Federation that the story of his forty years of leadership is to a large extent the history of the American labor movement. Organized labor was weakened not only by attacks from without but also by dissensions and differences of policy within. The great advance in the membership of the United Mine Workers was due to a partial victory in the West Virginia strike of 1912-1913 and to an improved union position in the anthracite region. Victories during 1915-1916 in important strikes increased union power while the Federation won the good will of the railroad brotherhoods by supporting their movement for the eight-hour day.