What Does Labor (People) Want?


Samuel Gompers A recent visit to San Antonio, TX revealed an unusual treasure. The taxi drove by a strange-looking statue of a man surrounded by a crowd of people.

I immediately wanted to know who the man was, and why was he immortalized with an adoring crowd around him?

Later I took a walk to find The Alamo. On my way, I stopped to get a closer look at the statue. The figure is of Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor (now the AFL-CIO). Gompers died in San Antonio in 1924.

The statue depicts Gompers speaking to a group of workers. Apparently, the odd-looking statue caused a minor controversy in the city. What’s most interesting to me is the quote from Gompers on the base of the statue.

What does labor want? …Gompers1
We want more schoolhouses 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.”
~ Samuel Gompers (1850 – 1924)

The things that Gompers and union workers were fighting for are the same things that we all want today.

Why do you think that we are struggling with the same issues in our communities 90 years later?

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