Department of Labor
Robert Reich, Secretary
The Department of Labor promotes and safeguards the welfare of America's workers. The Department's mandates cover
workplace activities for nearly 10 million employers and well over 100 million workers, including preparing workers for
new and better jobs; protecting workers' health and safety, wages, employment, and pension rights; promoting equal
employment opportunity; and measuring and publishing labor and economic statistics. The state of the American workforce
being critical to the future of the nation, the Department of Labor focuses on building opportunities for working
Summary Budget Information
|FY 1993 (Actual) || FY 1996 (Budgeted) |
|Budget || Staff ||Budget || Staff|
| $46.892 billion || 18,003 ||$33.879 billion ||16,655|
When I became Secretary of Labor in 1993, the challenge was clear: If the Department was to protect and promote the
welfare of America's workforce, we would have to reinvent how it operates. We met this challenge by making the Labor
Department more efficient and reducing costs -- while remaining focused on setting goals and getting results for the
The results are found in our achievements: greater pension security for Americans, fewer sweatshops, safer and
healthier workplaces, and more and better job training. And we did it all with 1,348 fewer employees.
In conjunction with the White House and under Vice President Gore's leadership, the Department developed a reinvention
plan. We streamlined our operations and eliminated waste. We already have achieved or exceeded our 1999 goals for reducing
Our reinvention efforts have been recognized with several awards. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's Early
Warning Program and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Maine 200 program each received the
prestigious Innovations in American Government Award presented by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University. This year,
the Wage and Hour Division's Garment Worker Initiative is a finalist for this award. Labor Department programs have also
received more than 20 of the Vice President's Hammer Awards, which recognize reinvention accomplishments.
Our efforts have made a real, significant impact on millions of American workers:
We have also focused on improving service to individual customers:
- As a result of the Early Warning Program, $14 billion has been added to underfunded pension plans covering more than
one million employees and retirees.
- A total of $9.8 million has been returned to 401(k) plans.
- A total of $8.4 million has been recovered for more than 29,000 garment workers.
- Sweatshops are under attack. More than 50 manufacturing firms across the country have committed to monitor their
contractors for safe and fair working conditions.
- Employers have the choice of working in partnership with OSHA or facing traditional enforcement. In the Maine 200
program, 65 percent of employers who chose a partnership with OSHA were able to reduce their injury and illness rates,
leading to lower workers' compensation costs and fewer lost work days.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act, signed by President Clinton in 1993, is fully implemented.
- The Women's Bureau's Working Women Count! initiative reached out to more than a quarter of a million working women
to find out what was right and wrong with their jobs. This effort resulted in the Working Women Count! Honor Roll
initiative for businesses and organizations committed to making work better for women and their families. More than 1,300
honor roll pledges have been made for specific new programs that improve pay, make workplaces more family-friendly, and
heighten respect and opportunity for one million workers throughout the United States.
- The School to Work Opportunities Act, signed into law in 1994 and administered jointly with the Education Department,
eases the transition from secondary education to postsecondary education and the world of work for the 75 percent of
America's youth who do not graduate from college. Over 500,000 young people are now participating in these school-to-work
- Through the Department's America's Job Bank Internet site, job seekers have access to more than 500,000 jobs across
the country every day, for jobs in both government and the private sector.
- One-Stop Career Centers have integrated unemployment insurance, employment, and training services under one roof
in a majority of states.
These accomplishments, and many others, have involved all Department of Labor employees, and relied on a partnership
with the unions representing those employees. Without that partnership, without the active participation of the frontline
employees who actually do the work and serve the customers, we could not have been successful. These efforts were
recognized with a National Partnership Award presented to the Department and the National Council of Field Labor Locals
(American Federation of Government Employees) by the National Partnership Council.
- Since fiscal year 1993, the Wage and Hour Division's Chicago office has reduced the average time for case resolution
from 14 days to two days.
- Following the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy, the Rapid Injury Response Team achieved a same-day establishment of
worker's compensation cases and a same-day adjudication of cases, with payments to survivors sent out within nine days.
- The Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance streamlined its investigation procedures, leading to the elimination of
a backlog of 100 cases and speeding assistance to eligible dislocated workers.
- OSHA redesigned area offices and streamlined processes so that a worker receives a response to a complaint in about
three days, instead of the previous 22 days.
We have much more to accomplish. But we have kept faith with the National Performance Review and with the American
people. We are making government work better and cost less.