Mergers are only challenging experiences if locals go into them unprepared.
However, let us be clear: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to local union mergers, since every local is unique, dealing with its own set of challenges, community dynamics and relations with employers. Therefore, it is important to view a local union merger as both a process and an opportunity, with many steps and factors to consider. Understanding the basic elements of this process will help local leadership in their planning, and avoid pitfalls.
Here are some key things every local union should first research and consider before merging with another local:
Things to consider before undertaking a merger
- How receptive are or would local union executives and members be to the idea of merging with another local?
- What goals, needs and expectations do members have in merging with another local?
- Have members been fully educated and informed as to the benefits of merging?
- Have members had an opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns they may have regarding a merger?
- Which other local union makes the most sense to approach to discuss a potential merger with?
- What are the local’s current assets and liabilities how will they be shared or managed post-merger?
While these are initial items that should be discussed internally amongst local leadership, these could also be discussed with a potential merger partner(s) immediately if a suitable local(s) has been identified.