Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Peter J. Brennan (1973–1974): Secretary of Labor

Peter Joseph Brennan was born in New York City on May 24, 1918, and attended the College of the City of New York. Brennan was a painter's apprentice, later becoming a master painter. During the World War II, he served with the U.S. Naval Reserve.

He was president of the New York City Building and Construction Trades Council from 1957 to 1973, president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council from 1958 to 1973, and vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO. Brennan served as Secretary of Labor for President Richard Nixon from 1973 to 1974 and for President Gerald Ford from 1974 to 1975. Brennan served on the newly created Council of Wage and Price Stability, and worked with labor to have them accept voluntary wage guidelines.

Brennan resigned from Ford's cabinet in 1975 and returned to his position on the Building and Trades Council. He died of lymphatic cancer on October 2, 1996.