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A labor leader of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he cofounded the American Federation of Labor (AFL), an organization composed of skilled workers in craft unions. In the 1930s the AFL was challenged by the rise of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), an organization whose member unions were composed of all workers, unskilled as well as skilled, in specific industries such as mining or automobiles. The two organizations later merged. (See AFL-CIO.)