Sylvis, William H.

Sylvis, William H.

(1828–69) labor leader; born in Armagh, Pa. An iron molder, he joined a local molder's union in Philadelphia in 1857. In 1860 he helped organize the Iron Molder's International Union (IMIU), and served as its president (1863–69). In 1866 he founded the National Labor Union, and served as its president (1868–69). Although he looked to the English cooperative labor movement and was opposed to strikes, he took an active role in fighting for labor's rights.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.