State of the Unions
How Nevada got here

(Photo courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society, Neal Cobb Collection.)

THE WAY IT WAS — Back in the 1940's, when the above photo was taken, Reno was both the largest city in Nevada and a totally union town. Note the small glass plaque next to the hanging lantern in the upper right. It notified all who entered that they patronized a "union bar." (The sign on the far right above the deer's head reads "no minors.") Those old union shop plaques are now collector's items. (See below for the location of the last one still displayed.)

The bar pictured here was located in a small casino and restaurant called The Cedars. It stood at 1585 S. Virginia St., about two miles south of downtown Reno. The Cedars operated from 1932, the year after the Nevada Legislature legalized gambling, until it burned down in 1947 (ominously, the same year in which the new Republican Congress passed the union-busting law described below, which continues to plague ALL workers today).

Go to the links, below, to find out how Reno and Las Vegas went their separate ways with respect to wages, working conditions — and respect. With only two exceptions (Circus-Circus and the Grand Sierra,* Reno and Sparks are today devoid of union establishments. Read how a union bartender in the Reno of 1949 actually made more, adjusted for inflation, than does the average bartender in under-unionized Reno today. In contrast, heavily-unionized Las Vegas area wages bring the average up for all bartenders.

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Remembering the lesson of Reno will make you fight harder for your union, whatever you do and wherever you are.

* Formerly the MGM Grand-Reno, Bally's-Reno and the Reno Hilton


The History of Nevada's Freeloader Law

Michigan repeals union-busting right-to-work for less law
By Jonathan Weisman / The New York Times / 3-23-2023

Right-to-Work laws are unconstitutional: The legal strategy
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-4-2017 Sparks Tribune

The brutal law of unintended consequences
Between the devil and the deep Joe Neal
Long-lost research may invalidate more than 100 longstanding Nevada laws including right-to-work-for-less and term limits
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-28-2013 Daily Sparks Tribune

Barbwire 1-29-2012

Colorado right-to-work-for-less proposal on the ropes
as residents learn the facts about fire-at-will

In These Times 3-14-2008

Longtime St. Mary's hospital employee
"Fired for cancer?" in a fire-at-will state

A not very Christian tale

Reno News & Review 3-6

Those who ignore history are bound for low wages

Card check union elections were stopped by the GOP congress of 1947, ending the only 12 years of union progress in the past century
Which is why organized labor wants to go back to the future and why big business is screaming like a stuck pig
MGM/Culinary negotiations stalled over card checks
Las Vegas Sun 6-23-2007

Right-to-fire and evil twin spawned
50 years ago today

Daily Sparks Tribune 7-4-99
EDITOR'S NOTE: The average Las Vegas bartender pay in the above 1999 article is a state-calculated average. LV union scale today stands much higher — $13.54 an hour by 2001.

Hitting on 16
Nevada workers have the right to lose
Daily Sparks Tribune 7-11-1999
The last bar in Reno with a union shop sign
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-3-2002

High Irony — Conservative lawsuit may start repeal
of vicious union-busting law

Daily Sparks Tribune 11-23-2003

The Draconian law with the Orwellian name
haunts the least among us to this very day

Daily Sparks Tribune 7-11-2004

Nevada initiative petition restriction imposed to keep right-work-repeal off the ballot finally found unconstitutional
Carson City Nevada Appeal 12-9-2006

BARBWIRE: Use conservative "unconstitutional takings" argument to knock out right-to-work-for-less laws
Daily Sparks Tribune 12-10-2006

Breaking News on the Barbwire
Daily Sparks Tribune 5-15-2005
(What better date than 5-15 to trash $5.15?)

Conservative Welfare Reform — Right-to-Work-for-Less Welfare Queens may lose 53-year free ride
Freeloader law may be modified
Contact your state senators — click above.

ALSO: Harrah's loses a round to fired bartender
Plus: your chance to be in pictures

A day which will live in infamy

(New York Times) On June 23, 1947, the Senate joined the House in overriding President Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley Act.

    Buy the New York Times front page for use on your dartboard —

Nevada Labor History



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