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William Willard Wirtz

Wirtz, William Willard, 1912–2010, U.S. secretary of labor (1962–69), b. DeKalb, Ill. A professor of law at Northwestern Univ. (1939–42), he served (1943–45) with the War Labor Board and was (1946) chairman of the National Wage Stabilization Board. Wirtz returned to Northwestern, where he again taught law until 1954. Appointed undersecretary of labor in 1961, he succeeded Arthur Goldberg as secretary of labor and held this post throughout the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He dealt effectively with the various strikes of the 1960s and oversaw an expansion of job training programs and unemployment assistance and the enactment of age discrimination legislation. He later practiced law, worked as an arbitrator, and was president of the National Manpower Institute (later the National Institute for Work and Learning).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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