Chamber, Economic

   / Wirtschaftskammer
   The oldest of Austria’s four self-governing corporations legally empowered to speak for the major interest groups of its economy, this chamber was an outcome of the Revolutions of 1848. At first these organizations represented a class of voters designated in a shortlived constitution issued that year. Called Chambers of Commerce and existing only as regional groupings, they became spokesmen for business owners in all sectors of economic life and continue to do so today. A federal chamber has existed since 1937, although following the Anschluss with Germany, it ceased to function. It was reestablished in 1946.
   Membership in the organization is obligatory for all employers. The chambers have statutory consultative rights over local and national legislation that bears upon the interests of their constituents. They also run their own training schools and institutes to further trade and industrialization domestically and abroad. Today each of the Austrian provinces has its own chamber, each with subdivisions representing manufacture and handicrafts, heavy industry, trade, banking, credit and insurance organizations, transportation, tourism, and recreation. In 2007, the chambers had around 370,000 member businesses.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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