Wilson served three terms in Congress before being appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to lead the newly-formed cabinet-level position of Secretary of Labor. Wilson served as Secretary of Labor from 1913-1921, a period when there were numerous conflicts between coal operators and coal miners in places such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Wilson ran for Senate in 1926 but was defeated. He continued to work as an arbitrator between labor and management, most significantly by negotiating with coal operators in Illinois in the late 1920s. He was aboard a train when he suddenly perished in 1934.