Secretaries of Labor

Department of Labor SealA separate Department of Labor was created in 1913 when the previously existing Department of Commerce and Labor was divided. This change reflected the realization that the aims of the business community and those of workers were often different and needed separate representation.

The secretary is appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate. He or she sets the Department's policies. The secretary functions as the president's main liaison with organized labor, and is a member of several presidential and Cabinet-level committees.

The undersecretary is the secretary's main aide and directs the department in the latter's absence. Other principal assistants are assistant secretaries, a commissioner, and chief law officer.

Term of Service
Secretary
Home State
Administration
1913 - 1921
William B. Wilson Pennsylvania Wilson
1921 - 1923
James J. Davis Pennsylvania Harding
1923 - 1929
Coolidge
1929 - 1930
Hoover
1930 - 1933
William N. Doak Virginia Hoover
1933 - 1945
Frances Perkins New York F.D. Roosevelt
1945 - 1949
L.B. Schwellenbach Washington Truman
1949 - 1953
Maurice J. Tobin Massachusetts Truman
1953
Martin P. Durkin Illinois Eisenhower
1953 - 1961
James P. Mitchell New Jersey Eisenhower
1961 - 1962
Arthur J. Goldberg Illinois Kennedy
1962 - 1963
W. Willard Wirtz Illinois Kennedy
1963 - 1969
L.B. Johnson
1969 - 1970
George P. Shultz Illinois Nixon
1970 - 1973
James D. Hodgson California Nixon
1973 - 1974
Peter J. Brennan New York Nixon
1974 - 1975
Ford
1975 - 1976
John T. Dunlop California Ford
1976 - 1977
W.J. Usery Jr. Georgia Ford
1977 - 1981
F. Ray Marshall Texas Carter
1981 - 1985
Raymond J. Donovan New Jersey Reagan
1985 - 1987
William E. Brock Tennessee Reagan
1987 - 1989
Ann D. McLaughlin Washington, D.C. Reagan
1989 - 1991
Elizabeth H. Dole North Carolina G.H.W. Bush
1991 - 1993
Lynn Martin Illinois G.H.W. Bush
1993 - 1997
Robert B. Reich Massachusetts Clinton
1997 - 2001
Alexis Herman Alabama Clinton
2001 -
Elaine L. Chao Kentucky G.W. Bush

See cabinet officers sorted by administration.

- - - Books You May Like Include: ----

The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience by Kirstin Downey.
Frances Perkins is no longer a household name, yet she was one of the most influential women of the twentieth century. Based on eight years of researc...