On 17 February (2 March in the new calendar) 1917, the industrialist Martin Luther convened the representatives of 18 of Tallinn’s largest factories, who decided to found a union of Tallinn area manufacturers. Martin Luther was elected as the chairman and Konrad Mauritz as the secretary. The union resided at 12 Vana-Viru St, the current seat of the Tallinn City Council.
The Union of Estonian Industrialists soon became a very influential organisation. Its membership varied over the years from 40 to 60 representatives of major industries in Tallinn and other towns.
In July 1940, the occupation powers declared the Union of Estonian Industrialists liquidated.
After the Republic of Estonia regained independence on 20 August 1991, industry associations founded the Estonian Confederation of Industries, which in 1992 took on the role of representing employers in social partnership.
In 1995, the associations of industries in the service sphere formed a second Employers’ Confederation in Estonia – the Estonian Confederation of Employers’ Organisations (Eesti Tööandjate Ühenduste Keskliit, ETÜKL). In 1998 the two employers’ organisations joined. In 2001, the organisation was re-named the Estonian Employers’ Confederation.