John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Willard Wirtz as Secretary of Labor.

September 25, 1962

I AM delighted to have this opportunity, I am sure we all are, to witness the swearing in of our new Secretary of Labor, who succeeds a most distinguished Secretary who set an extremely high standard for Mr. Wirtz, a standard which we know he will meet.

The responsibility which he assumes is extremely sensitive. He represents the Labor Department, which is concerned with the interests of the working people of this country, and concerned with the public interest. I think that sometimes we in Washington, dealing with larger issues, do not become as aware as we should be that what we're really talking about are the working conditions of men and women working in factories across the United States, men and women whose job security is vital to their survival, the kinds of work they do, the conditions under which they work, the adjustments which are made in their hours, and in their working conditions, by technological changes or by economic or monetary changes in the policy of the United States. All these matters come to rest upon the Secretary of Labor.

He also serves the public interest, which is affected by all the decisions that he makes in the labor-management field, so we were most anxious to secure the services of the man most capable of fulfilling this office which must be so responsive to the needs of our people. And, therefore, in our opinion the office and the man meet in the person of Mr. Wirtz.

We're glad he accepts this position. He accepts it with the wholehearted and warm support of the AFL-CIO, Mr. Meany and others who are here this morning, and he also, I think, accepts it with the knowledge of his responsibility to the business community and to the public interest. So we're glad to have you here, Mr. Wirtz. Congratulations.

Note: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

Mr. Wirtz' appointment as Secretary of Labor was first announced by, the President on August 30.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the Swearing In of Willard Wirtz as Secretary of Labor. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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