Department of Labor

Robert Reich, Secretary

Mission Statement

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 Americans.

Summary Budget Information

FY 1993 (Actual) FY 1996 (Budgeted)
Budget Staff Budget Staff
$46.892 billion 18,003 $33.879 billion 16,655

Reinvention Highlights

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 American worker.

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 employment.

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: 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.

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.


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