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WPA Archives - Vintage Brochure - Unions, Safety and Compensation - 1939


  • Are WPA workers permitted to join unions?
  • Is it necessary for a worker to belong to a union in order to get or hold a WPA job?
  • Are union organizational activities permitted among WPA workers?
    Yes. But such activities are not permitted on a project during working hours. Foremen and other WPA officials, although they may join unions, are not permitted to act as organizers at any time.
  • Have WPA workers the right to complain about wages, hours, or working conditions?
    Yes. A WPA worker has the right to bring such complaints to his foreman, and, if he is not satisfied, he may carry his complaint to the local WPA office, to the State Administrator, and finally if necessary to the Washington office. WPA rules forbid any discrimination against complainants.
  • Can a union or any group of WPA workers send representatives to a WPA office to present grievances?
    Yes; and they have the right to choose any representatives they wish.
  • Can a WPA worker be discharged?
    Yes, he can be discharged for cause relating to his efficiency or integrity on the job. Also he can be terminated from project employment because of completion of work or shortage of funds.


  • What provisions are made for the safety of WPA workers?
    It is the foreman's duty to maintain safe working conditions on a project. In addition, safety inspectors make regular inspections of all projects.
  • Is equipment provided to protect WPA workers from injury?
    Yes. Either the WPA or the sponsor of the project provides goggles, safety belts, lifelines, or what-ever equipment is necessary to protect the workers against injuries. Also there is a first-aid kit avail-able on every project.
  • How does the injury rate on WPA projects compare with the general rate of private industry?
    It is considerably lower.
  • Is a WPA worker entitled to compensation for injuries received on the job?
    Yes, and for illnesses resulting from such injuries.
  • What compensation does a WPA worker get for injuries received on his job?
    Beginning on the fourth day of his disability he draws a compensation equal to two-thirds of his monthly wage but not exceeding $50 a month. The maximum amount allowed by the U. S. Employees' Compensation Commission for death or injury is $4,000, payable at a rate not to exceed $50 a month. In addition, he receives all necessary medical and hospital treatment.


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