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The Organic Act of the Department of Labor

President William Howard Taft
signing the Act into law on March 4, 1913.
View his accompanying memorandum.

Public Law 426-62: An Act to create a Department of Labor

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby created an executive department in the Government to be called the Department of Labor, with a Secretary of Labor, who shall be the head thereof, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and who shall receive a salary of twelve thousand dollars per annum, and whose tenure of office shall be like that of the heads of the other executive departments; and section one hundred and fifty-eight of the Revised Statutes is hereby amended to include such department, and the provisions of title four of the Revised Statutes, including all amendments thereto, are hereby made applicable to said department; and the Department of Commerce and Labor shall hereafter be called the Department of Commerce, and the Secretary thereof shall be called the Secretary of Commerce, and the Act creating the said Department of Commerce and Labor is hereby amended accordingly. 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 to advance their opportunities for profitable employment. The said Secretary shall cause a seal of office to be made for the said department of such devices as the President shall approve and judicial notice shall be taken of the said seal.

Sec. 2. That there shall be in said department an Assistant Secretary of Labor, to be appointed by the President, who shall receive a salary of five thousand dollars a year. He shall perform such duties as shall be prescribed by the Secretary or required by law. There shall also be one chief clerk and a disbursing clerk, and such other clerical assistants, inspectors, and special agents as may from time to time be provided for by the Congress. The Auditor for the State and Other Departments shall receive and examine all accounts of salaries and incidental expenses of the office of the Secretary of Labor and of all bureaus and offices under his direction, and all accounts relating to all other business within the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor, and certify the balances arising thereon to the division of bookkeeping and warrants and send forthwith a copy of each certificate to the Secretary of Labor.

Sec. 3. That the following-named officers, bureaus, divisions, and branches of the public service now and heretofore under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce and Labor, and all that pertains to the same, known as the Commissioner General of Immigration and Naturalization, the Division of Information, the Division of Naturalization, and the Immigration Service at Large, the Bureau of Labor, the Children's Bureau, and the Commissioner of Labor, be, and the same hereby are, transferred from the Department of Commerce and Labor to the Department of Labor, and the same shall hereafter remain under the jurisdiction and supervision of the last-named department. The Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization is hereby divided into two bureaus, to be known hereafter as the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization, and the titles Chief, Division of Naturalization and Assistant Chief shall be Commissioner of Naturalization and Deputy Commissioner of Naturalization. The Commissioner of Naturalization or, in his absence, the Deputy Commissioner of Naturalization, shall be the administrative officer in charge of the Bureau of Naturalization and of the administration of the naturalization laws under the immediate direction of the Secretary of Labor, to whom he shall report directly upon all naturalization matters annually and as otherwise required, and the appointments of these two officers shall be made in the same manner as appointments to competitive classified civil-service positions. The Bureau of Labor shall hereafter be known as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor shall hereafter be known as the Commissioner of Labor Statistics; and all the powers and duties heretofore possessed by the Commissioner of Labor shall be retained and exercised by the Commissioner of Labor Statistics; and the administration of the Act of May thirtieth, nineteen hundred and eight, granting to certain employees of the United States the right to receive from it compensation for injuries sustained in the course of their employment.

Sec. 4. That the Bureau of Labor Statistics, under the direction of the Secretary of Labor, shall collect, collate, and report at least once each year, or oftener if necessary, full and complete statistics of the conditions of labor, and the products and distribution of the products of the same, and to this end said Secretary shall have power to employ any or either of the bureaus provided for his department and to rearrange such statistical work and to distribute or consolidate the same as may be deemed desirable in the public interests; and said Secretary shall also have authority to call upon other departments of the Government for statistical data and results obtained by them; and said Secretary of Labor may collate, arrange, and publish such statistical information so obtained in such manner as to him may seem wise.

Sec. 5. That the official records and papers now on file in and pertaining exclusively to the business of any bureau, office, department, or branch of the public service in this Act transferred to the Department of Labor, together with the furniture now in use in such bureau, office, department, or branch of the public service, shall be, and hereby are, transferred to the Department of Labor.

Sec. 6. That the Secretary of Labor shall have charge in the buildings or premises occupied by or appropriated to the Department of Labor, of the library, furniture, fixtures, records, and other property pertaining to it or hereafter acquired for use in its business; he shall be allowed to expend for periodicals and the purposes of the library and for rental of appropriate quarters for the accommodation of the Department of Labor within the District of Columbia, and for all other incidental expenses, such sums as Congress may provide from time to time: Provided, however, That where any office, bureau, or branch of the public service transferred to the Department of Labor by this Act is occupying rented buildings or premises, it may still continue to do so until other suitable quarters are provided for its use: And provided further, That all officers, clerks, and employees now employed in any of the bureaus, offices, departments, or branches of the public service in this Act transferred to the Department of Labor are each and all hereby transferred to said department at their present grades and salaries, except where otherwise provided in this Act: And provided further, That all laws prescribing the work and defining the duties of the several bureaus, offices, departments, or branches of the public service by this Act transferred to and made a part of the Department of Labor shall, so far as the same are not in conflict with the provisions of this Act, remain in full force and effect, to be executed under the direction of the Secretary of Labor.

Sec. 7. That there shall be a solicitor of the Department of Justice for the Department of Labor, whose salary shall be five thousand dollars per annum.

Sec. 8. That the Secretary of Labor shall have power to act as mediator and to appoint commissioners of conciliation in labor disputes whenever in his judgment the interests of industrial peace may require it to be done; and all duties performed and all power and authority possessed or exercised by the head of any executive department in and over any bureau, office, officer, board, branch, or division of the public service by this Act transferred to the Department of Labor, or any business arising therefrom or pertaining thereto, or in relation to the duties performed by and authority conferred by law upon such bureau, officer, office, board, branch, or division of the public service, whether of an appellate or revisory character or otherwise, shall hereafter be vested in and exercised by the head of the said Department of Labor.

Sec. 9. That the Secretary of Labor shall annually, at the close of each fiscal year, make a report in writing to Congress, giving an account of all moneys received and disbursed by him and his department and describing the work done by the department. He shall also, from time to time, make such special investigations and reports as he may be required to do by the President, or by Congress, or which he himself may deem necessary.

Sec. 10. That the Secretary of Labor shall investigate and report to Congress a plan of coordination of the activities, duties, and powers of the office of the Secretary of Labor with the activities, duties, and powers of the present bureaus, commissions, and departments, so far as they relate to labor and its conditions, in order to harmonize and unify such activities, duties, and powers, with a view to further legislation to further define the duties and powers of such Department of Labor.

Sec. 11. That this Act shall take effect March fourth, nineteen hundred and thirteen, and all Acts or parts of Acts inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed.

Approved March 4, 1913.