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Department of Labor (U.S.)

Last modified: 2022-08-27 by rick wyatt
Keywords: labor | departmental | united states |
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[Flag of the Department of Labor] image located by Ben Cahoon, 27 March 2008

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This flag was changed 1963 according FB-III-4 and Vexillinfo 73. It was therefore valid from ca. 1915 to 1963.
Jaume Ollé, 31 December 2001

The Department of Labor flag is blue with the department coat of arms surmounted by an outsized eagle and with some strange number of stars (not 4 or 13, but I don't remember how many exactly) arrayed in horizontal lines above and below.
Joe McMillan, 4 April 2003

1915 Flag

[Flag of the Department of Labor] image by Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001

The Department of Labor was established by an Act of 14 March 1913, by being split off from the existing Department of Commerce and Labor. The establishing act also authorized a seal. Section III of Regulations of the Department of Labor, 15 October 1915, gave the seal as "Or on a fess gules between an anvil in chief and a plow in base proper, a pulley, a lever, and an inclined plane argent. Crest: An eagle displayed proper. Above the seal placed circularly the words 'Department of Labor' and below in similar manner the words 'United States of America' all enclosed in a circle."

Article IV of the same regulations stated "The Department shall have a flag of white bunting measuring 12 feet fly, 7 feet 6 inches hoist with the seal of the Department in the center and a five-pointed blue star near each corner, one star for each bureau under the jurisdiction of the Department. This flag shall be displayed as the Secretary may direct." (Source: E. E. Bantz, unpublished paper, "Backgrounds of Flags of Cabinet Officers," 22 April 1960, in files of the Army Institute of Heraldry)

Although the 1915 regulations give this as the flag of the department, [gsh34], [u9s38]], [kng49], and Miss Bantz's paper all label it as the flag of the Secretary of Labor.

In the 1960s, a Secretary of Labor (Arthur Goldberg, I believe) decided to change the flag, adopting instead a dark blue field with the shield from the departmental coat of arms in the center topped by a large eagle descending onto the shield with its wings spread, carrying a white scroll in its talons inscribed "United States Department of Labor." Twelve small white stars surround this device, five in a straight line above the eagle, five in a straight line below the shield, one centered near the hoist and another centered near the fly. (Source: an old edition of the Encylopedia Americana). The 12 stars evidently symbolized the subdivisions of the department. This flag flies above the department on Constitution Avenue in Washington and is visible in numerous photographs of departmental officials on the website,

What I'm not sure of is whether the old white flag is still used for the Secretary. The blue one is labeled "Department of Labor" in the Americana, while those that are personal flags of other cabinet members are correctly labeled "Secretary of ....." rather than "Department of ....."

Anyway, I don't have a good image of the blue, 12-star flag to work from, so offer only the ca. 1915-1960 version, sent separately. Note: Despite the blazon, the paintings of the coat of arms and flag in the Institute of Heraldry files show the charges the same color as the field they are set upon--red for the anvil and plow and yellow for the collection of simple machines--all outlined in black. The shield is outlined in black and the eagle is yellow instead of proper.
Joe McMillan, 17 December 2001

Centennial Flag

[Centennial Flag of the Department of Labor] image by Randy Young, 16 March 2015

The U.S. Department of Labor centennial flag:
Dave Fowler, 7 September 2013

Secretary of Labor

Construction sheet: Secretary of Labor
Created 19 July 1949; Supersedes original drawing created on 23 May 1945.
    Base: White (Cable 65005)
    Stars: Blue (Cable 70088)
    Fringe: Blue (Cable 70088)

Dave Fowler, 9 July 2022