Education: Heritage Discovery Center

Johnstown Area Heritage Association
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WPA Work Safety Posters

Tackling Accidents on the Job

In the 1930s President Franklin D. Roosevelt created many new programs as part of his "New Deal" to relieve the Great Depression. Labor unions remember most of all the Wagner Act, which gave workers the right to join together in unions to bargain with their employers as a group. Many other programs were created to put unemployed people to work. One of these was the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which hired out-of-work artists, writers, architects, and musicians for the Federal Arts Project in each state.

One job artists had was to make posters for all the other special programs and projects. One set of posters urged workers to be avoid accidents on the job by staying alert, wearing protective clothing, and other good industrial habits. Others posters encouraged the unemployed to train for skilled jobs in fields like math or drafting. Later they urged workers to put in extra hours and keep security secrets during the war.

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