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The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United Statesmarker government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. Many U.S. states also have such departments. The department is headed by the United States Secretary of Labor. Hilda Solis is the current secretary of labor. Seth Harris is the current deputy secretary of labor.

The department is housed in the Frances Perkins Building, which gained its name in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter renamed the facility in honor of Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor from 1933–1945 and the first female cabinet secretary in U.S. history.


The U.S. Congress first established a Bureau of Labor in 1888 under the Department of the Interiormarker. Later, the Bureau of Labor became an independent Department of Labor but lacked executive rank. It became a bureau again within the Department of Commerce and Labor, which was established February 15, 1903. President William Howard Taft signed the March 4, 1913 bill establishing the Department of Labor as a Cabinet-level Department.

President Lyndon Johnson asked Congress to consider the idea of reuniting Commerce and Labor. He argued that the two departments had similar goals and that they would have more efficient channels of communication in a single department. However, Congress never acted on it.

In the 1970s, following the Civil Rights Movement, the Labor Department under Secretary George P. Shultz was instrumental in promoting racial diversity in unions.

Frances Perkins Building

On October 18, 1974, construction was completed on the New Department of Labor Building (NDOL). Employees begin occupying offices in February 1975. On April 10, 1980, the building was renamed the "Frances Perkins Building."

Operating units

Other organizational units within the Department:
  • Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults With Disabilities (PTFEAD)
  • Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)

  • Office of Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA)
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM)
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP)
  • Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
  • Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • Office of Small business Programs (OSBP)
  • Office of the Solicitor (SOL)
  • Office of the Secretary (OSEC)
  • Office of the 21st Century Workforce (21CW)
  • Wirtz Labor Library

Related legislation

See also

External links



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