Labor Day Facts

Labor Day Facts

The Department of Labor, is an executive department of the United States government that works to promote the welfare of wage earners. The department seeks to improve the economic position of workers in the United States, to better their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for employment.
The secretary of labor, a member of the President's Cabinet, heads the department. The President appoints the secretary subject to the approval of the U.S. Senate.
Functions. The Department of Labor administers federal laws on minimum wages, overtime, child labor, and migrant workers and determines wage rates for work done under government contracts. A Labor Department agency called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) develops and enforces job safety and health standards for most U.S. industries.
History. In 1884, Congress established a Bureau of Labor in the Department of the Interior. In 1888, Congress gave the bureau independent status as the Department of Labor. In 1903, Congress established the new Department of Commerce and Labor and made the Department of Labor a bureau in it.
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed a law creating an independent Department of Labor. The office of secretary of labor became the first Cabinet-level office to be occupied by a woman when Frances Perkins was appointed to the post in 1933.