IR #2002-08
Thursday, June 27, 2002

Dean Fryer
Susan Gard
(415) 703-5050

News Advisory
Department of Industrial Relations marks 75 years with celebration

San Francisco native and state librarian Kevin Starr is the featured speaker today at the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) 75th anniversary celebration in San Francisco.

The morning program featuring Starr, who will discuss California labor history, is at the Herbst Theatre. An apprenticeship fair and afternoon workshops for employers and employees is scheduled at the state building with an evening reception featuring Assemblymember Kevin Shelley -- whose father authored a measure that established the state's apprenticeship system in 1939-- in the state building atrium.

DIR was established in 1927 when its current programs were first consolidated. Now enforcing labor and workplace safety and health laws for more than 14 million California workers and 1.3 million employers, as well as overseeing the state's apprenticeship and workers' compensation systems, DIR expanded its enforcement capabilities under the Davis administration for the first time in almost two decades.

"As we celebrate the 75th anniversary, we renew our commitment to California workers and employers to ensure their workplaces are lawful, safe and healthy," said Stephen Smith, DIR director. "We renew our determination to improve workforce training and increase opportunities for young Californians by alerting them to apprenticeship opportunities, and we renew our efforts to improve the workers' compensation system so it serves both injured employees and their employers."

Some of DIR's programs can claim longer histories. The department's oldest program, Division of Labor Statistics and Research, began in 1883 as the California Bureau of Labor Statistics. Precursors of DIR's divisions of Labor Standards Enforcement, Workers' Compensation and Occupational Safety and health were united with the Industrial Welfare Commission of 1913 and Industrial Accident Board of 1911 when the department itself was established in 1927.

The afternoon workshops are designed for workers and employers and include:

"Opportunity is the promise that nourishes individual and community prosperity in California," said Smith. "Along with every Californian with dreams, ambition and hope, we at DIR pledge to continue fostering opportunity in California workplaces. California's workers fuel the state's economy and are the most significant source of prosperity and stability in our communities."