Trade Union Educational League

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TRADE UNION EDUCATIONAL LEAGUE (TUEL). Established in Chicago (1920) under the leadership of William Z. Foster, TUEL grew from left-wing labor activists' efforts to build a progressive union movement. Used by the Communist Party to strengthen leftist forces inside the American Federation of Labor (AFL), it advocated industrial unionism, rank-and-file influence, support for the Soviet Union, and the formation of a labor party as a preliminary step in the establishment of a workers' republic. It created linkages with some mainstream union leaders and assumed leadership of strikes in northeastern textile and garment industries (1926–1928). Conservative AFL opposition and the Communist Party shift toward revolutionary dual unions undermined TUEL, which disbanded in 1929.


Barrett, James R. William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Klehr, Harvey. The Heyday of American Communism: The Depression Decade. New York: Basic Books, 1984.

James J.Lorence

See alsoCommunist Party, United States of America ; Trade Unions .