William B. Wilson – Secretary of Labor

William Bauchop Wilson

Wilson and his staff of directors
W.B. Wilson and his staff of directors

Secretary of Labor
March 5,1913 – March 5, 1921

On March 4, 1913 the Department of Labor was created by an act of Congress and Wilson, as Chairman of the Committee on Labor, was instrumental in its passage. Wilson was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to be Secretary of Labor in the newly formed cabinet post. W.B. Wilson took office on March 5, 1913.

The purpose of the Department of Labor shall be to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States, to improve their working conditions, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.

When Wilson took charge of the Department of Labor there were 2000 employees and four bureaus, all of which had been previously housed in the Department of Commerce and Labor. The four bureaus were Children, Immigration and Naturalization, Labor Statistics and a Division of Conciliation. With World War I, Wilson quickly made the Department of Labor an important piece of the administration by coordinating the movement of 6 million workers from non-essential to essential industries and then returned them once the war was over. Many of the activities of the Department of Labor, except the regulatory work that would eventually become very important, trace back to that period: the employment services, employment of women, retraining of veterans with disabilities, fair employment for minorities, and labor-management relations.

On a lighter note:
Wilson was the first cabinet member to have a government issuedmotor car.

Next page

The Wilson index:

• William Bauchop Wilson Main Page
• Coming to America
• Growing up in Arnot, Pennsylvania
• The Next 20 Years
• Secretary-Treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America
• Congress
• 1921 – 1934
• The Family
• Ferniegair Farm Blossburg, Pennsylvania
• United Mine Workers Pins & Ribbons
• Poetry By W.B. Wilson
• Bibliography