Inferable from desperate monetary straits, the Gompers family moved to the United States in 1863, settling in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Gompers' dad was occupied with the make of stogies at home, helped for the main year and half by Samuel. In his spare time, the youthful adolescent shaped a discussion club with his companions, a movement that gave handy involvement in broad daylight talking and parliamentary procedure. The club drew Gompers into contact with other upwardly versatile young fellows of the city, including a youthful Irish-American named Peter J. McGuire, who later would assume an extensive job in the AFL.
In 1864, at 14 years old, Gompers joined and wound up engaged with the exercises of the Cigar Makers Local Union No. 15, the English-talking association of stogie creators in New York City. Gompers later related his days as a stogie producer at the seat in detail, stressing the place of craftsmanship in the generation procedure:
Any sort of an old space filled in as a stogie shop. On the off chance that there were sufficient windows, we had adequate light for our work; if not, it was obviously no worry of the management.... Stogie shops were constantly dusty from the tobacco stems and powdered takes off. Seats and work tables were not intended to empower the laborers to change bodies and arms easily to [the] work surface. Every laborer provided his own cutting leading body of lignum vitae and blade edge.
The tobacco leaf was set up by strippers who drew the leaves from the substantial stem and place them into stack of around fifty. The leaves must be dealt with painstakingly to avert tearing. The craftsmanship of the cigarmaker was appeared in his capacity to use wrappers to the best favorable position to shave off the unusable to a trifle, to roll to cover gaps in the leaf and to utilize the two hands in order to make a splendidly formed and moved item. These things a decent cigarmaker figured out how to accomplish pretty much mechanically, which left us allowed to think, talk, tune in, or sing. I adored the opportunity of that work, for I had earned the mind-opportunity that went with ability as a specialist. I was anxious to gain from discourse and perusing or to spill out my emotions in song.
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The day after his seventeenth birthday celebration he wedded his associate, sixteen-year-old Sophia Julian. They had a progression of youngsters in quick progression, with six surviving earliest stages.
In 1873, Gompers moved to the stogie creator David Hirsch and Company, a "high-class shop where just the most talented laborers were employed". Gompers later called this difference in businesses "a standout amongst the most imperative changes throughout my life", for at Hirsch's—an association shop worked by a émigré German communist—Gompers came into contact with a variety of German-talking stogie producers—"men of quicker attitude and more extensive idea than any I had met previously," he recalled. Gompers learned German and ingested a significant number of the thoughts of his shop mates, building up a specific appreciation for the thoughts of the previous secretary of the International Workingmen's Association, Karl Laurrell. Laurrell encouraged Gompers, testing his more oversimplified thoughts and asking Gompers to put his confidence in the sorted out financial development of exchange unionism instead of the communist political development.