To Lena Toliver1

                                                                                                                  July 9, 1920.
In Reply Refer to Resolution No. 48.

Miss Lena Toliver,
Secretary Railway Coach and Station Cleaners and Porters Local #16685,2
2319 East 31st Street, Cleveland, Ohio.

Dear Madam:

          The delegate3 from your local union jointly with the delegates from the several other local unions of colored workers to the Montreal Convention of the American Federation of Labor, submitted Resolution No. 48 4 which, as amended by the convention, reads as follows:--

Whereas, The American Federation of Labor has taken a firm position on the claims of negro labor to fair and impartial sharing of the benefits of organized labor; and
Whereas, Despite this attitude of the American Federation of Labor, encouraging results have not followed and millions of negro working men continue ignorant of the benefits of collective bargaining, thus militating against the successful operation of the Federation in its fight for a square deal for labor; therefore, be it
Resolved, That negro organizers be appointed where necessary to organize negro workers under the banner of the American Federation of Labor.

          The convention referred the above to the Executive Council of the American Federation of Labor with instructions to comply therewith if the funds of the Federation will permit. The Executive Council at its meeting in Montreal, immediately after the adjournment of the convention,5 referred the matter to the officers at headquarters.

           I am now writing to call your attention to the fact that the American Federation of Labor already has a number of colored wage workers employed as special organizers who are devoting their entire time to the work of organizing the colored workers. I have reference to organizer Riley who is now stationed in Chicago; organizer Worthey 6 who is in the South working particularly in the interests of freight handlers; organizer Rice7 who is devoting his time to the coach and car cleaners; and organizer Brown 8 who is endeavoring to organize tobacco workers. In addition there is organizer Dan W. Richmond 9 who is giving his time to the South to organizing the colored freight handlers, this upon the suggestion and request of the President of the railway clerks.

           I am sure you will agree with me, in view of the above, that the interests of the colored wage earners are not being neglected by the American Federation of Labor. However, if the opportunity presents itself and the funds of the American Federation of Labor will warrant, additional colored organizers will be appointed.

                                                                                                        Fraternally yours,

                                                                                                        Saml Gompers
                                                                                                        President American Federation of Labor

TLpS, reel 255, vol. 268, pp. 238-39, SG Letterbooks, DLC.

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