DOL's Set to Enter Centennial Year

A new feature on the federal agency's website, a 100-year timeline of significant events, is similar to the Safety Trail that was a highlight of last month's 2012 National Safety Congress & Expo.

Not to be outdone by the National Safety Council, the U.S. Department of Labor is preparing to celebrate a centennial year of its own. DOL has posted an enlightening timeline that features key events in its history, starting with the March 4, 1913, signing of the Organic Act by President William Howard Taft. The act created the department. "Signed during Taft's last hours in office, it is followed shortly thereafter by President Woodrow Wilson's appointment of William B. Wilson (no relation) as the first secretary of labor," the timeline item states.

The secretary's post has been held by women for decades by now, and the timeline features both the first female cabinet member to hold the post, Frances Perkins, who served from March 1933 to June 1945, and the current secretary, Hilda Solis, who was a California congresswoman when President Obama selected her on Jan. 20, 2009.

You're likely to find several items in this timeline that are new or surprising. The entry for March 5, 1921 to Nov. 30, 1930, titled "Puddler Jim," concerns James John Davis, a Welsh immigrant who apprenticed in a steel mill and earned the "Puddler Jim" nickname there, according to the timeline. "He is one of only three Cabinet members in history to hold the same post under three consecutive presidents. As secretary of labor, Davis supports changing immigration quotas, establishes the U.S. Border Patrol and lobbies steel mills to abandon the 12-hour workday. He resigns as secretary of labor to serve as a U.S. senator representing Pennsylvania," it states.

The timeline's last item as of Nov. 9 is dated March 23, 2010: the date President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law upheld as constitutional earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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