Hall of Honor Inductee: William B. Wilson

William Bauchop Wilson

William B. Wilson (1862 — 1934)

"Instead of the use of force, what we need is the spirit of justice, of fair play, that will result in a permanent industrial peace."

Born in Blantyre, Scotland, William Bauchop Wilson was the son of a miner who immigrated to a small coal mining village in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. He received less than two years of formal schooling before joining his father in the mines, where he worked until he was 16, when he was elected secretary of the local Miners and Laborers Benevolent Association. In the ensuing years, he traveled extensively, assisting striking miners, establishing joint conferences between operators and miners, and organizing union locals. In 1890, he helped form the United Mine Workers of America and later was named its secretary-treasurer. In 1906, he was elected to Congress and was instrumental in passing legislation that created the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to be the first U.S. secretary of labor.

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