AFL HQ (1897)

700 14th St NW
Washington, DC, US

Category: Labor Organizations - historic

Used in the following map:

DC Labor Map

Founded in 1881 as the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada. Organized along craft lines, it sought to build strong and well-knit national unions financially able to carry on strikes, if necessary, to secure increased wages, shorter hours, and improved working conditions (Labor's Untold Story, p 90). Became the American Federation of Labor in 1886 and founder Samuel Gompers moved the fledgling organization from New York City to a 3-room office on this site in 1897. The preamble to the Constitution adopted in 1896 read: "A struggle is going on in the nations of the world between the oppressors and oppressed of all countries, a struggle between capital and labor which must grow in intensity from year to year and work disastrous results to the toiling millions of all nations if not combined for mutual protection and benefit." In 1915 the AFL built a 7-story headquarters of brick and limestone on the NW corner of 9th & Massachusetts.