On this date in 1869, William Sylvis died. Sylvis is best remembered as a founder of the Iron Molders' International Union and the National Labor Union, the latter being one of the first American union federations attempting to unite workers of various crafts into a single national organization.
The founding convention of the National Labor Union in August 1866, was attended by 60 delegates, representing 43 local unions, 11 trade assemblies, four Eight-hour Leagues, and two national or international unions. Ironically, Sylvis was unable to attend the gathering due to illness. He became president of the National Labor Union in 1868 and advocated international labor cooperation and independent political action. At the time of his death at the age of 41, he was urging the formation of a national Labor Reform party.