What were the goals of the American Federation of Labor when it was founded?
The AFL arose as a reaction against the Knights of Labor. The primary focus of the AFL was members wages and working conditions rather than political goals.
The Knights of Labor was a large group of Unions active in the mid to late 1800s. A dispute during a lock out of the Cigarmakers International Union led to the creation of the American Federation of Labor as a Union group in 1886 against the KOL. The Knights of Labor imploded as an organization in the next year or so and lost a majority of its members Unions.
The AFL concentrated on bargaining with Employers for better wages and working conditions rather than aligning with Communists or Anarchists for political gains. They grew slowly.