The Territorial Enterprise's composing room, Virginia City circa 1900.
Photo courtesy Nevada Historical Society

Nevada Labor History

Nevada Labor History is a largely untold story. You can change all that by helping tell the tale — and writing a couple of chapters yourself. (Click here for a history of the union label.)

Ain't we a pair?
Dennis Myers & Andrew Barbano inducted into César Chávez Nevada Labor Hall of Fame
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno
Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 4-10-2024

Prolific Nevada author and publisher David Toll dies at 85
Constructed and launched in 1995

Editor's Note: David Toll built and launched for this novice back in 1996. "Break out the cyber champagne!" he wrote the day we went hot. David's history of Big Bill Haywood and the IWW/Wobblies union remains must-reading for any understanding of Nevada labor history. See

Thanks for all the memories and Godspeed, dear old friend. Requiescat in pace, frater mei. Be well. Raise hell. AB

Down Amnesia Lane with David Toll's Gold Hill News 5-25-2017

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

Poor Denny's Almanac Saturday, 24 Sept. 2016 10:38:31 PDT

On this date in 1864, mine owner and Nevada governor James Nye requested and received two companies of U.S. Army cavalry troops from Fort Churchill to break a miners’ labor union in Virginia City. (Courtesy of veteran Nevadian journalist/historian Dennis Myers' daily Poor Denny's Almanac © 2016)

Virginia City Labor Day Parade 9-5-2016
History of Labor Day in Nevada and elsewhere

Area workers again march through historic Virginia City to celebrate the value of work on Labor Day

Northern Nevada Central Labor Council: Labor Day stands for much more than selling sofas

June 7, 2015—Ceremony in Dayton, Nev., honored former slave and Union Army Civil War Soldier Pvt. Scott Carnal, 79th U.S. Colored Infantry, died 7 June 1917, buried at Dayton Cemetery

Nevada Day Required Reading
The Lady in the Red Dress
The Barbwire's classic Nevada Day column written in 1983
The compleat history of the Silver State in 500 words

Sparks Tribune 10-31-2013 and previously

Miners at the Stray Dog Mine, Manhattan (Nye County) Photo courtesy of Nevada Historical Society

The trade union movement in the west was born in Virginia City in the days of the Comstock Lode during the Civil War.

More Nevada History

Nevada Writers

Nevada Historian Guy Louis Rocha: Laboring Under Some Hardhat Myths

"The Red Scare in Nevada, 1919-1920" by Ted DeCorte of Las Vegas

BARBWIRE: The casino with a heart—an obituary for Harolds Club

Great labor myths: Workers Buried in Hoover Dam

ROCHA: Unionism on the Comstock Lode

BARBWIRE: A shotgun wedding for the lady in the red dress

BARBWIRE: The Steel Bloodstream Tells No Lies

BARBWIRE: Right to fire & evil twin spawned 50 years ago today

BARBWIRE: Hitting on 16: Nevada workers have the right to lose

BARBWIRE: Would you vote for a Right-to-Tax law? How about a Right-to-Work law?

The Fourth Ward School

A Letter about Nevada Union History

Encyclopedia Nevadaca History Links

North West Labour History Group Lancashire, UK (OK,so it ain't Nevada, but they do nice work.)

The gold and silver rush also gave birth to the oldest continually operating labor organization in Nevada, the Washoe Typographical Union, now part of Communications Workers of America Local 9413, which counts the editor of this site among its members.

The original 1863 charter was destroyed by the Great Virginia City Fire of 1875 and replaced in 1876.

CWA 9413 proudly maintains that charter and the venerable union's individual identity.

Click here to view a photo of the 1876 charter. proudly follows in the deep tracks of printers ink left by the likes of Sam Clemens, Dan deQuille, Lucius Beebe, Charles Clegg and their fellow immortals of the Territorial Enterprise and her illustrious sisters such as the Gold Hill News.

Their direct descendants work in the state printing plant in Carson City. Nevada law still mandates that the Silver State's printery must be a union shop signatory with the Washoe Typographical Union.

All submissions to the Nevada Labor History pages will be welcome, but only the best will be published.

Photos, illustrations, publications, memories and diaries are all important. Material submitted digitally will enjoy an edge, but careful research and well-crafted writing will always prevail.

I've added a link to the North West Labour History Group. "The Industrial Revolution transformed first Lancashire, then Britain and then the world," they state.

Just as their area gave birth to the movement, Nevada spawned trade unionism throughout the American wild, wild west. In that respect, we share history.

The rich story of labor in Nevada has been all but neglected and we intend to change that.

We've already got a couple of contributions by noted Nevada historians Phil Earl and Guy Rocha, so let's get at it.

As usual, if you don't do the work, it just won't get done.


Building Energy 2007

100 Years of Apprenticeship

City of Sparks Centennial

1927 Reno Transcontinental Highways Exposition

Building for the next century

WIKIPEDIA/LABOR LAW: A detailed primer on union busting, liberally quoting late Las Vegan Martin Jay Levitt, a former union buster who made up for his sins.
Be well. Raise hell.





In Solidarity,

Andrew Barbano, Editor
(775) 786-1455


In Search Of...

HELP US OUT — In Search Of...Women Teamsters in Nevada

Hot type: Las Vegas Sun burns down on Nov. 20, 1963
The newspaper was formerly the Las Vegas Free Press, owned by the International Typographical Union which long since merged with the Communications Workers of America/AFL-CIO. Reno and Las Vegas publications stayed unionized into the 1970's and early 1980's, but no union shops remain in the hotbed of union activity which is the Nevada of today.
What was once may someday come again.
Las Vegas Sun / 11-20-2013

The Bullfrog Times-Picayune:
The short-lived newspaper for the populationless county with the nuclear pedigree
including the story of how Nevadans blew their last chance to blow Las Vegas the hell out of the Union

The Life and Times of Travus T. Hipp

California's Prop 13 lies at the root of Nevada's fiscal collapse
Dennis Myers remembers the Tax Shaft of 1981
Reno News & Review / May 23, 2013

Public shut out of utility legislation, putting ratepayers at risk
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 5-23-2013 Energy War Room

BARBWIRE: Rider on the Storm

BARBWIRE: Stiffed on the Strip
Las Vegas CityLife 10-27-2006

Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 350 Centennial 10-13-2006

Harry Kelber: The Labor Educator
Kelber dead at 98 / Barbwire 5-23-2013

Nevada Historical Timeline

Updated Political History of Nevada published
First new edition in 10 years
Carson City Nevada Appeal 8-3-2006

U-News Breaking News/Bulletins 1999-2005 Archive
Includes selected historical excerpts from Poor Denny's Almanac beginning with the 8-11-2004 installment

CURRENT Breaking News/Bulletins/Almanac

Hannah Keziah Clapp builds the Nevada Capitol Iron Fence and other pioneering tales

A nice Labor Day story
The labor films former actor and union president Ronald Reagan didn't want you to ever see

Preserving history: Painters Union volunteers renovate historic Comstock Lode site

The artists of preservation - Back row, left to right, John Loughan with his arm around his sister; James Ayers, Nathan Sabin, Sandra MacDonald, Jack Carson, Terry Patterson and Juan Velez. Kneeling, left to right, Gwen Sicuro and Journeyman Mo Hursh. Not pictured: Journeymen Marty McGuire and John Glenn; apprentices Cain Passi and Erin Duhr.

Virginia City's Fourth Ward School gets a facelift - Apprentices and journeymen from Painters and Allied Trades Local 567 renovated Virginia City's historic Fourth Ward School in the fall of 1997. Union members also performed the work the previous time the building was painted in 1986.

"We are once again pleased and proud that our apprentices have the opportunity to begin their careers on such an important project," Local 567 business manager Todd Koch said when the work began.

"Many of those who worked on the Fourth Ward School 11 years ago are still practicing their trade in northern Nevada," he added.

About 15 journeymen and apprentices participated in the project over four weekends. The south and east faces of the site had been subjected to extensive weathering over the years.

Labor and materials totaling $40,000 were donated by the union and various suppliers. Fuller Color Center donated the paint with additional safety equipment and painting supplies coming from Lindell's Painting Service. Both companies are Reno-based. Brand Scaffold Rental and Erection of Concord, Calif., partially donated scaffolding, safety harnesses and related supplies. Remaining costs were covered by the Nevada Commission on Cultural Affairs and the National Parks Grant Program. This phase was part of a $135,000 exterior restoration program.

Fourth Ward School, Virginia City, after restoration

Painters apprentices spruce up Reno's historic Lake Mansion
Painters and Allied Trades Local 567 celebrates its centennial

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