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WPA Archives - Administration, Supervision, Finances, Politics, Private Industry - 1939


  • Is WPA administration efficient?
    Impartial investigations have found it so. For example, after making a comprehensive survey of unemployment relief, the magazine Fortune reported that the WPA as an organization "functions with an efficiency of which any industrialist would be proud."
  • How are foremen and supervisors of WPA projects selected?
    Local WPA officials select all foremen; supervisors are selected by the local WPA except when they are provided by (and paid by) the project sponsors.
  • Must WPA supervisors and foremen be taken from the relief rolls?
    This is desirable but not required. However, the proportion of nonrelief employees to the total working force must not exceed 5 percent on any project, except where special exemptions have been authorized.
  • How are WPA funds apportioned among the States and communities?
    In accordance with the extent of need in each State and each community. Thus the amount of WPA money spent in States and communities does not depend on their area or population, but on the number of needy unemployed workers and on the wage levels in each.
  • How much of the cost of WPA projects is paid from Federal funds?
    The Federal Government pays almost all the labor costs of a project. The sponsor pays most of the costs of materials and equipment. During the last fiscal year, sponsors' funds averaged about 20 per-cent of total project costs.
  • Just what is the Federal WPA dollar spent on?
    Out of each Federal dollar spent
    1. 86 cents is used to pay project workers.
    2. 11 cents is used to pay for materials and equipment.
    3. 3 cents is used to pay for administrative costs.
  • Is there an independent accounting for WPA funds?
    Yes, by the United States Treasury Department, which also issues checks to WPA workers and purchases WPA materials.


  • Must a WPA worker support any political party in order to get or hold his job?
    No. To promise a WPA job for political reasons, or to deprive or threaten to deprive a WPA worker of his job for political reasons, is a felony. *
  • Is it permissible for WPA workers to be solicited for campaign contributions?
    No. Solicitation of campaign contributions from WPA workers is a felony. *
  • Can WPA employees run for political office?
    Project workers legally can; but supervisory and administrative employees are forbidden to run for political office or to act as campaign managers for political candidates. The law provides that any supervisory or administrative employee who uses his official position to influence an election shall be immediately dismissed.

* Punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or a year's imprisonment, or both.


  • Are any special arrangements made to help WPA workers get jobs in private industry?
    The U. S. Employment Service, with which all WPA workers are registered, seeks to keep in-formed of the needs of private employers, and makes constant efforts to place WPA workers in private jobs.
  • Is a WPA worker required to take a job in private industry if one is open to him?
    Yes, if it is work that he can do and if the employer offers the prevailing local wage and reasonable working conditions.
  • Can a WPA worker who has taken a private job get back on the WPA if he loses the job?
    Yes. If he loses the job through no fault of his own, and is still in need, he is entitled to reemployment.


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