of the Nevada
Historical Society, Neal Cobb Collection.)
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).
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.
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