The Swiss Grütliverein was a nationally oriented workers' association. It was founded on May 20, 1838 by Johannes Niederer in Geneva , inspired by Albert Galeer , with the collaboration of Heinrich Grunholzer .
Originally founded as a discussion association for journeymen, the Grütliverein played an important role in the Swiss labor movement . First, he had only the education and upbringing prescribed, but unfurled soon political activity. With the motto “Through education to freedom”, the training aimed to achieve independence as a master craftsman and citizen. During the time the state was founded, the Grütliverein spread. In 1851 it had 34 sections and 1,282 members.
The “Grütlians” played a key role in founding trade unions and health insurance companies. Several sections of the Grütlivereins as well as workers 'associations and trade unions united in Olten in 1873 to form the first Swiss workers' union (Alter Schweizerischer Arbeitererbund), which later was joined by health insurance companies.
In 1851 eight Grütlians under Karl Bürkli founded the Zurich consumer association, the first consumer association in Switzerland. In 1872 - on the initiative of the Olten Section - the Grütli health insurance fund (now Visana ) , which existed in its name until 1995, was established . In addition, the Grütli sections also founded savings and loan kiosks and kindergartens.
The patriotic orientation of the Grütliverein - its name refers to the mythical founding place of the Confederation , the Rütli - made the movement a special Swiss case. In 1868, the Grütliverein refused to join the International Workers 'Association (First International), which was founded in 1864 , creating a contrast to the international socialist workers' movement.
Representatives of the Grütlivereine are considered to be co-founders of the farmers and workers' union in 1892.
In 1901 the Grütliverein merged with the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland in the so-called "Solothurn Wedding", but remained organizationally independent and left again in 1916. In the Swiss parliamentary elections in 1919 , two more Grütlians were elected on their own lists. The association was formally dissolved in 1925.
The newspaper Der Grütlianer appeared as a party organ from 1851 , and as a daily newspaper from 1906.