A statement by the founders of the AFLexpressed their belief in the need for more effective unionorganization. "The various trades have been affected by theintroduction of machinery, the subdivision of labor, the use ofwomen's and children's labor and the lack of an apprentice system-sothat the skilled trades were rapidly sinking to the level of pauperlabor," the AFL declared. "To protect the skilled labor of Americafrom being reduced to beggary and to sustain the standard of Americanworkmanship and skill, the trades unions of America have beenestablished." Thus the AFL was a federation that organizedonly unions of skilled workers.


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