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date: 20 May 2024


The Oxford Companion to United States History
Julie GreeneJulie Greene

This concept is identified with the early American Federation of Labor (AFL), when Samuel Gompers dominated the organization. First used by Gompers to summarize his view of the AFL's goals, voluntarism stressed the importance of freely chosen and noncompulsory relationships within the union movement. Subsequently, historians adopted the term to describe the AFL's early emphasis on the trade union as central to workers' lives, its focus on economic objectives, and its rejection of most forms of government intervention.... ...

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