Some of the successes of the American Federation of Labor, or AFL, were its ability to convince the moderate factions of business to view collective bargaining as a more positive means of settling labor disputes, the development of effective organizational measures to counteract the actions of employers and authorities when strikes were called and making sick pay, assistance during unemployment and burial insurance available to its members. The AFL also kept its distance from political extremists and maintained a policy of avoiding potentially negative political entanglements.
The AFL's professed belief in the growth of the capitalist system as a benefit to both employers and workers enabled the organization to be viewed as a rational alternative to other labor organizations that advocated a more radical approach.
During World War I, the AFL entered into an informal relationship with the United States government to support the war-production effort and to weaken the influence of radical labor groups such as the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World. In return, the federal government helped to persuade certain large industries to recognize unions as an alternative to facing a workers' strike.