State labor director to retire


LITTLE ROCK — The longest-serving director of the state Department of Labor announced his retirement Tuesday.

James L. Salkeld will step down Friday, Jan. 18, after 21 years as head of the department that provides services and enforces laws promoting the health, safety and welfare of the wage earners of Arkansas.

He first announced his departure to Labor Department staff Monday.

“It has been such a pleasure to serve the citizens of this state, and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Salkeld said in a release. “When I was appointed to this position, I never dreamed I’d still be here 21 years, 4 months and 17 days later, but who’s counting?”

Then-Gov. Bill Clinton appointed Salkeld as state labor director in August 1991.

“James Salkeld is an institution within public service in Arkansas,” Gov. Mike Beebe said in a release Tuesday. “He has led our Department of Labor with dedication and efficiency through four gubernatorial administrations. Jamie has definitely earned his retirement, but we will miss his dependable service to the working people of Arkansas.”

Prior to heading the Labor Department, Salkeld worked 17 years in the electrical trade, 10 years as a master electrician and served on the executive board of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 295.

He later served as an executive of the local union until his appointment to the Labor Department.

Salkeld has also served as president of the Arkansas State Electrical Workers Association, president of the Central Arkansas Building and Construction Trades Council, member of the AFL-CIO Executive Board, and secretary-treasurer of the State Building and Construction Trades Council.