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November 5, 2008    DOL Home > About DOL > History

History at the Department of Labor

Departmental Timeline



Secretaries Of Labor

DOL Dates And Events



Woodrow Wilson

William B. Wilson

DOL Organic Act; first DOL headquarters was in the Willard Building on 14th Street, N.W.
(March 4, 1913)

DOL headquarters is transferred temporarily to the Mills Building at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
(July 1, 1914)

Secretary Wilson establishes non-statutory U.S. Employment Service (USES); see Wagner-Peyser Act.
(January 22, 1915)

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) begins publication of the Monthly Labor Review.
(July 1915)

Clayton Act signed; exempted unions from Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
(October 15, 1915)

DOL issues first compendium of Regulations of the Department of Labor.
(October 15, 1915)

Keating-Owen Act bans child labor; annulled by Supreme Court, June 3, 1918.
(September 1, 1916)

Federal Employees Compensation Act; established Office of Workers Compensation Programs in DOL.
(September 7, 1916)

U.S. declares war on Germany and its allies; DOL takes early action.
(April 6, 1917)

DOL headquarters is transferred to newly built "Department of Labor Building" at 1712 G St., N.W.
(July 1, 1917)

World War I agency War Labor Administration created in DOL.
(January 4, 1918)

International Labour Organization (ILO) holds first meeting in Washington, chaired by Secretary Wilson.
(October 19, 1919)

More than four thousand alleged Communists arrested for deportation under "Anarchist Exclusion" Act of 1918; DOL refuses to deport the bulk of those arrested; Secretary Wilson threatened with impeachment.
(January 2, 1920)

Women's Bureau organic act.
(June 5, 1920)



Warren G. Harding

James J. Davis

Congress establishes position of Second Assistant Secretary of Labor to assist with administration of immigration laws.
(June 30, 1922)

Montana and Nevada enact first old age pension laws, pre-dating the federal Social Security Act of 1935.
(March 5, 1923)



Calvin Coolidge

The Johnson Act sets strict immigration quotas.
(May 26, 1924)

Railway Labor Act; laid basis for National Mediation Board.
(May 20, 1926)

Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes bulletin No. 420, "Handbook of American Trade Unions," its first directory of U.S. labor organizations.
(October 9, 1926)

Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
(March 4, 1927)



Herbert Hoover

Congress authorizes Veteran's Division in USES.
(March 1930)

Congress authorizes DOL to collect unemployment statistics.
(July 7, 1930)

Fire destroys the records of the Children's and Women's Bureaus.
(August 31, 1930)

William N. Doak

Davis-Bacon Act.
(March 3, 1931)

Norris-LaGuardia Act.
(March 23, 1932)

Emergency Relief and Construction Act; created employment through a public works program.
(July 21, 1932)



Franklin D.


Frances Perkins

Secretary Perkins becomes first woman to serve in the Cabinet.
(March 4, 1933)

President and Congress create an array of independent agencies as part of the "New Deal."

Civilian Conservation Corps established; DOL assists with administration.
(March 31, 1933)

Wagner-Peyser Act; reestablished United States Employment Service.
(June 6, 1933)

Executive Order (E.O.) 6166 merges Bureaus of Immigration and Naturalization to create new Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in DOL. E.O. 6166 also transfers Solicitor of Labor position from Department of Justice to DOL.
(June 10, 1933)

Legislation authorizing U.S. to join ILO.
(June 19, 1934)

Division of Labor Standards established.
(July 1934)

Department dedicates new "Main Labor Building" at 14th St. and Constitution Ave.
(February 25, 1935)

National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act), establishing the National Labor Relations Board.
(July 5, 1935)

Social Security Act; included Unemployment Insurance (UI) program administered outside DOL.
(August 14, 1935)

Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act.
(June 30, 1936)

National Apprenticeship Act.
(August 16, 1937)

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); established Wage and Hour Division in DOL.
(June 25, 1938)

Secretary Perkins threatened with impeachment over Harry Bridges deportation case; impeachment resolution fails.
(January 24, 1939)

Dictionary of Occupational Titles first published by USES.
(June 1939)

USES transferred from DOL to Social Security Board.
(July 1, 1939)

Congress transfers INS to Department of Justice.
(June 15, 1940)

E.O. 8802 establishes Fair Employment Practices Commision for defense industries.
(June 25, 1941)

War Remobilization and Reconversion Act establishes Re-employment and Re-training Administration for veterans in DOL.
(October 3, 1944)



Harry S. Truman

Lewis B. Schwellenbach

Employment Act of 1946; establishes national economic goals.
(February 20, 1946)

Children's Bureau transferred to Federal Security Agency; child labor functions remain in DOL.
(July 16, 1946)

Taft-Hartley Act; abolishes DOL's Conciliation Service and establishes independent Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
(June 23, 1947)

Bureau of International Labor Affairs established.
(October 10, 1947)

E.O. 9980 and E.O. 9981 ban discrimination in federal employment and the military respectively.
(July 26, 1948)

Maurice J. Tobin

Congress and President Truman reorganize DOL.

USES and UI system transferred to DOL.
(August 20, 1949)



Dwight D. Eisenhower

Martin P. Durkin

E.O. 10479 establishes the President's anti-discrimination Committee on Government Contracts.
(August 13, 1953)

James P. Mitchell

J. Ernest Wilkins appointed Assistant Secretary of Labor for International Affairs; only second African American to serve in a sub-Cabinet position.
(March 4, 1954)

E.O. 10590 establishes President's Committee on Government Employment Policy to eliminate discrimination within the federal government.
(January 18, 1955)

Nine African American students desegregate Little Rock Central High School; among them is Ernest Green, later Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training in the Carter Administration.
(September 25, 1957)

Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act.
(August 28, 1958)

Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
(September 14, 1959)



John F. Kennedy

Arthur J. Goldberg

E.O. 10925 establishes the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity (in government-funded employment).
(March 6, 1961)

Area Redevelopment Act.
(May 1, 1961)

E.O. 10988, Employee-Management Cooperation in the Federal Service.
(January 17, 1962)

Manpower Development and Training Act.
(March 15, 1962)

Secretary Goldberg appointed Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
(September 25, 1962)

W. Willard Wirtz

Manpower Administration established; renamed in 1975.
(February 19, 1963)

President Kennedy attends DOL's 50th Anniversary Celebration.
(March 4, 1963)

Equal Pay Act.
(June 10, 1963)

Secretary Wirtz establishes Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy Planning and Research; predecessor of Office of Policy.
(July 17, 1963)



Lyndon B. Johnson

President Johnson signs Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title VII bans discrimination in the workplace.
(July 2, 1964)

Economic Opportunity Act; created Job Corps outside DOL.
(August 20, 1964)

Department publishes The Negro Family: the Case for National Action, also known as the "Moynihan Report."
(March 1965)

E.O. 11246; established Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in DOL.
(September 24, 1965)

Service Contracts Act.
(October 22, 1965)

Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
(December 15, 1967)

Social Security Amendments establish Work Incentive (WIN) Program.
(January 2, 1968)



Richard M. Nixon

George P. Shultz

Department of Labor issues "Philadelphia Plan" order requiring affirmative action in the construction trades.
(June 27, 1969)

Job Corps transferred to DOL.
(July 1, 1969)

E.O. 11491, Labor-Management Relations in the Federal Service.
(October 29, 1969)

Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.
(December 30, 1969)

James D. Hodgson

Occupational Safety and Health Act; established OSHA as of April 28, 1971.
(December 29, 1970)

Employment Standards Administration (ESA) established.
(May 4, 1971)

Emergency Employment Act (public employment jobs).
(July 12, 1971)

Peter J. Brennan

Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA); reorganized Manpower Administration.
(December 28, 1973)



Gerald R. Ford

Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
(September 2, 1974)

New Department of Labor Building (NDOL) completed; employees begin occupying offices in February 1975.
(October 18, 1974)

Veterans' Reemployment Rights Act.
(December 3, 1974)

Trade Act (Trade Adjustment Assistance).
(January 3, 1975)

John T. Dunlop

Secretary renames Manpower Administration as Employment and Training Administration.
(November 12, 1975)

President Ford vetoes Common Situs Picketing Bill; in aftermath Dunlop issues statement of resignation.
(January 2, 1976)

W. J. Usery, Jr.

DOL Activities in Honor of Nation's Bicentennial:
The U.S. Department of Labor History of the American Worker is published by GPO.

DOL commissions musical by Morton Gould titled "Something To Do: A Salute to the American Worker in Words and Music"; staged on Labor Day 1976 at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.

Artist Jack Beal completes four large murals commissioned by the Department depicting " The History of Labor in America."



Jimmy Carter

Ray Marshall

Economic Stimulus Appropiations Act (Emergency Jobs Program).
(May 13, 1977)

President Carter withdraws U.S. from ILO.
(November 3, 1977)

Federal Mine Safety and Heath Act; established MSHA in DOL.
(November 9, 1977)

Inspector General Act; established IG Office in DOL.
(October 1, 1978)

Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act; set new national economic goals.
(October 27, 1978)

U.S. rejoins ILO.
(February 13, 1980)

Ceremony renaming NDOL the "Frances Perkins Building."
(April 10, 1980)

Office of Civil Rights for DOL programs established.
(Fall 1980)



Ronald Reagan

Raymond J. Donovan

Veterans Employment and Training Service established.
(December 10, 1981)

Job Training Partnership Act; replaced CETA.
(October 13, 1982)

Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act.
(January 14, 1983)

Bureau of Labor-Management Relations and Cooperative Programs established to promote better labor relations; agency expired on June 30, 1992.
(May 1, 1984)

Bureau of Labor Statistics celebrates centennial.
(June 27, 1984)

Retirement Equity Act.
(August 23, 1984)

Supreme Court issues decision in case of Garcia v. San Antonio Metro. Transit Authority bringing state and local employees under FLSA.
(February 19, 1985)

William E. Brock

Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration established.
(January 1986)

Immigration Reform and Control Act.
(November 6, 1986)

"Workforce 2000" Report issued.
(July 1, 1987)

Ann Dore McLaughlin

Pension Protection Act of 1987.
(December 22, 1987)

DOL celebrates 75th Anniversary.
(March 4, 1988)

Employee Polygraph Protection Act.
(June 27, 1988)

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
(August 4, 1988)

ESA eases restrictions on home work under FLSA.
(November 10, 1988)

Drug-Free Workplace Act; basis for DOL's Working Partners Program.
(November 15, 1988)

Labor Hall of Fame dedicated at DOL.
(January 11, 1989)



George H. W. Bush

Elizabeth Hanford Dole

Secretary Dole visits Poland after fall of the "Iron Curtain" as representative of President Bush.
(August 1989)

Secretary's Commission on Workforce Quality issues report.
(September 4, 1989)

Secretary Dole intervenes in United Mine Workers strike against Pittston Coal Co. and appoints "super-mediator."
(October 25, 1989)

DOL strike force investigates violations of child labor law; assesses $5.6 million in penalties.

Lower "Training Wage" goes into effect for the first time under FLSA.
(April 1, 1990)

Americans with Disabilities Act.
(July 26, 1990)

Lynn Morley Martin

Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills issues report.
(July 2, 1991)

Glass Ceiling Commission created by Civil Rights Act of 1991.
(November 21, 1991)

U.S., Canada and Mexico sign North American Free Trade Agreement (ratified by Congress in 1993).
(December 17, 1992)



Bill Clinton

Robert B. Reich

Family and Medical Leave Act.
(Febuary 5, 1993)

School-to-Work Opportunities Act.
(May 4, 1994)

Report of the Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations.
(December 1994)

Retirement Protection Act.
(December 8, 1994)

First DOL Website launched.
(September 4, 1995)

"No Sweat" program enlists employers to help eradicate poor working conditions in clothing industry.
(September 12, 1995)

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation (Welfare Reform) Act.
(August 22, 1996)

Alexis Herman

Secretary Herman intervenes to help settle UPS strike.
(August 1997)

DOL initiates elaws, an interactive, web-based tool to assist employees and employers with DOL laws and regulations.
(November 24, 1997)

E.O. 13078 establishes Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities.
(March 13, 1998)

Workforce Investment Act reorganizes federal employment and training programs.
(August 7, 1998)

ILO adopts US-supported Convention 182 banning abusive child labor.
(June 17, 1999)

"Futurework Report" issued.
(September 6, 1999)

OSHA publishes Ergonomics Program Standard, regulating repetitive motion hazards, in the Federal Register.
(November 14, 2000)

Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal 2001 includes authorization for creation of an Office of Disability Employment Policy in DOL.
(December 21, 2000)



George W. Bush

Elaine L. Chao

Center for Faith-Based & Community Initiatives established by E.O. 13198.
(January 29, 2001)

Office of the 21st Century Workforce established.
(March 6, 2001)

Ergonomics Program Standard is rescinded under the Congressional Review Act. In response, OSHA develops the Four-pronged Comprehensive Approach on ergonomic hazards.
(March 20, 2001)

Terrorist attack on U.S. soil prompts massive Department of Labor mobilization to aid economic victims.
(September 11, 2001)

First Assistant Secretary confirmed to head Office of Disability Employment Policy.
(July 26, 2002)

Secretary Chao intervenes in West Coast dock workers dispute; President Bush invokes Taft-Hartley Act.
(October 8, 2002)

Office of Compliance Assistance Policy established to coordinate and advance DOL efforts to provide workers and employers with the tools and resources that help them comply with DOL laws and regulations.
(November 17, 2002)

Secretary Chao renames PWBA as the Employee Benefits Security Administration.
(February 3, 2003)

DOL submits its first completely integrated performance budget — USDOL FY 2005 Budget.
(February 2, 2004)

DOL issues new regulations governing overtime exemptions for white collar workers.
(April 23, 2004)

State Unemployment Tax Authority (SUTA) Dumping Prevention Act is signed into law, to prevent unemployment tax evasion and manipulation schemes.
(August 13, 2004)

DOL is awarded the President's Quality Award for Management Excellence for agency-wide performance in the areas of Strategic Management of Human Capital and Budget and Performance Integration.
(December 14, 2004)

DOL quickly responds to the 2005 storms that devastated the Gulf Coast by providing over $290 million in emergency funds to give more than 99,000 dislocated workers a paycheck to participate in the cleanup and recovery efforts and to provide education and training for new career opportunities. DOL continues to provide Hurricane Recovery Assistance.
(August 2005 to Present)

DOL becomes the first department to achieve the top score of "green" in all five government-wide initiatives of the President's Management Agenda.
(June 30, 2005)

DOL becomes the first department to be awarded the President's Quality Award for Management Excellence in overall management.
(December 13, 2005)

Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (Miner) Act is signed into law, to enhance miner safety and health.
(June 13, 2006)

Pension Protection Act is signed into law, to protect workers and retirees and to encourage continued sponsorship of pension plans.
(August 17, 2006)

DOL is awarded the President's Quality Award for Management Excellence in the area of Expanded Electronic Government for DOL's e-government initiatives "share three common principles: unequivocal management support, strong accountability and a unified approach."
(November 15, 2006)

DOL and the Department of Defense jointly launch the Military Spouse Career Advancement Initiative to provide military spouses with opportunities to pursue portable careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations.
(November 14, 2007)

DOL's FY 2007 Performance and Accountability Report's Highlights document is cited as the best in government by the George Mason University Mercatus Center.
(May 13, 2008)

Secretary Chao passes Secretary James P. Mitchell in length of tenure — becoming the fourth longest serving Secretary of Labor in history and the longest serving since World War II and Secretary Frances Perkins.
(May 2008)


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