Helping California Employers since 1896
– A little history goes a long way!

In 2006, Employers Group (EG) celebrates 110 years of continuous service to the California employer community. Here’s a snapshot version of our history.

In the beginning
When EG was first formed in 1896 in Los Angeles as the Merchants & Manufacturers Association (M&M), the name itself echoed the nature of business at that time. The city was teaming with industrial and manufacturing companies, many originating to build the city itself and the nearby harbor. Rail companies were booming and the area was gearing up as a major shipping port. Department stores, breweries and “mom and pop” markets were also flourishing businesses. Many of these companies were M&M’s first members and some are still EG members to this day.

Did you know…M&M jumped into civic projects early on, taking a leading role in creating the annual Fiesta de las Flores in 1897—which was the forerunner of today’s Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena.

Early 20th Century – Focus on industrial relations
The focus over the first three decades was primarily on industrial relations. M&M kept its eye on union issues on behalf of its members, promoting an “open shop” philosophy as being the most beneficial for employers and employees alike. In 1921, the Industrial Relations Committee of San Francisco, a Bay Area group much akin to M&M in Los Angeles was highly successful in organizing the business community to maintain an open shop city. (Note: This group would change names over the several decades and eventually, as the Federated Group, would merge with M&M in 1993 to become the Employers Group.)

Did you know… Following a unionist’s bombing of the Los Angeles Times in 1910, M&M joined with this charter member in the struggle for a union free environment by setting aside funds to “hunt down” the perpetrators and supply seed money for a $1 million “defense fund.”

1940s – Moving into human resources
In 1937, M&M was joined in the labor relations field by a new organization called Southern Californians, Inc., which sponsored a successful Los Angeles city initiative ordinance to keep picketing peaceful. In the 1940s, this group and M&M united to become the largest employment relations group in the nation. M&M grew its service base to provide members with a more comprehensive range of services in the human resources field.

Did you know… M&M offered its services to the Civilian Defense during WWII and represented the interests of Los Angeles businesses with the War Labor Board. M&M’s post-war years included working with employers to firmly establish sound employer-employee relations in assimilating GIs back into the workforce.

1950s - 1970s– Expansion in services and locations
The 1950s represented a time when M&M started to diversify and expand the scope of its services. Management education, research and publication of practical literature replaced much of the anti-union activity of the past. This is also when M&M’s existing legislative advocacy became even more important in helping to slow down the intrusion of bureaucratic action upon the business community.

In 1957 M&M established its Orange County Regional Office. Although the county was a rural community with little industry, we recognized the potential for industrial growth.

Did you know…M&M played several key roles in the growth of Orange County by offering management and human resources training and authoring the “Shop Talk” column for employers in the Orange County Register.

Since the 1970s, Employers Group has provided members with a telephone consulting “helpline” to provide expert guidance on HR issues any time during the work day. Today, our Consulting Helpline is one of the most-used services by our members, whereby our seasoned professionals provide on-the-spot answers to compliance and employee relation questions.

This is also the period when we introduced compensation, HR practices, and budget and trends surveys, which are, to this day, considered a top benefit by our members.

1980 through 1993 – Serving employers throughout California
In the 1980s, M&M added three more regional offices, in San Diego, Inland Empire and San Francisco. Then, in 1993, M&M merged with the Federated Employers in San Francisco (changing our name to Employers Group), thus drawing the distinction of becoming the nation’s largest and oldest nonprofit employer association dedicated to HR management.

Heading into the 21st Century
The last 25 years has produced the largest shifts in the HR profession. The methods for managing HR have evolved into a full-time function to become a much more demanding role in organizations. Employers Group has evolved to meet 21st Century employers’ need to protect their “intellectual capital.”

Did you know…In 1995, Employers Group introduced one of the first web sites dedicated to HR called www.hronline.org, which evolved over the years as www.employersgroup.com to become a one-of-a-kind resource for employers.

One only needs to peruse the Employers Group website today to discover the many benefits and expertise available for today’s busy human resources professional. Though numerous services have been around for a long time, we continue adding new ones to help California employers protect their most important asset—their employees!

Employers Group has come a long way, indeed. Our goal back in 1896 was to help early California businesses grow and benefit the state’s economy. Our goal remains basically the same – to continue maintaining California as fertile field for new business, new ideas and new employment. We want to make sure California employers remain competitive in the reality of today’s global economy.

There's no one quite like us when it comes to human resource management expertise.