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NAE at 70

James V. Nelson

In the 70 years since the Nevada Association of Employers was created, we have seen continued evolution and growing sophistication in the services that the association provides to its members.

Even when our association was created in 1938, similar organizations across the country had a long history.

Coming to prominence shortly after the Civil War, employer associations were seen by businesses as the conduit between them and the unions. In fact, employer associations, rather than individual employers, called many of the lockouts back then. In 1895, the National Association of Manufacturers was created, and with that the number of employer associations increased.

During the early years of the 20th century, the 10 largest associations represented more than 15,000 employers in campaigns against the unions. As the years went on, employer associations have maintained their place in labor-management relations across the country. But many also have taken on roles in human resources support and political lobbying in recent decades.

The Nevada Association of Employers (known then as the Reno Employer’s Council, and part of the California Association of Employers) was formed in 1938 to maintain a union-free environment in downtown Reno. In the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, the association of employers was very involved in helping employers stay union-free, would assist employers in their campaign efforts and would represent employers in collective bargaining.

During the 1950s, the right to work issue in Nevada was in the forefront. The NAE was deeply involved in a successful ballot initiative in 1952 to pass a right to work law in Nevada. Union efforts to repeal this bill over the next several years were rejected by the voters. Nevada remains to this day a right-to-work state.

In 1962, NAE separated from the Calif-ornia Association of Employers and continued on with its labor relations efforts. In the 1980s, federal laws such as COBRA and IRCA added to an already lengthy list of employment laws in which employers were required to comply.

NAE became a professional resource for businesses in their efforts to operate within those laws. In addition, NAE added to its list of services a slate of training offerings intended to educate employers on their obligations under the law as well as supervisory development classes.

Currently, NAE provides support for more than 420 Nevada employers. The support ranges from employee relations to government relations, from employee opinion surveys to pay and benefit surveys, from public training programs to tailored on-site programs, from state and federal legislative updates to updates on new regulations on existing laws and from creating an employee handbook to providing employers with the required state and federal posters.

We are very proud of our history and all that we’ve been able to offer to the local business community over the years. Our intent is to continue to provide quality human resources support to all of our members going forward and be a major part of northern Nevada’s economic future.

James V. Nelson is executive director of the Nevada Association of Employers. Contact him at (775) 329-4241.



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