In many instances the conduct of colored workmen, and those who have spoken for them, has not been in asking or demanding that equal rights be accorded to them as to white workmen, but somehow conveying the idea that they are to be petted and coddled and given special consideration and special privilege. Of course that can't be done.
The Samuel Gompers Papers: The American Federation of Labor and the Great War, 1917-18. Stuart Bruce Kaufman, Peter J. Albert, and Grace Palladino, eds. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2006, p. 348.
We will stand by our friends and administer a stinging rebuke to men or parties who are either indifferent, negligent, or hostile, and, wherever opportunity affords, to secure the election of intelligent, honest, earnest trade unionists, with clear, unblemished, paid-up union cards in their possession.Samuel Gompers
What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures.Samuel Gompers
So long as we have held fast to voluntary principles and have been actuated and inspired by the spirit of service, we have sustained our forward progress, and we have made our labor movement something to be respected and accorded a place in the councils of the Republic. Where we have blundered into trying to force a policy or decision, even though wise and right, we have impeded if not interrupted the realization of our own aims.Samuel Gompers
The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.Samuel Gompers
[The labor movement is] a movement of the working people, for the working people, by the working people, governed by ourselves, with its policies determined by ourselves...Samuel Gompers
The trade union movement represents the organized economic power of the workers... It is in reality the most potent and the most direct social insurance the workers can establish.Samuel Gompers