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A merit shop is term which refers to a firm or organization without a labor union. Management retains the right to perform hiring, promotion, salary adjustments, bonuses and termination based on the laws of the state and federal government, along with its evaluation of individual's ability to accomplish the tasks assigned to them by the employer. By Law, these decisions will not be biased by age, race, national origin, organizational affiliation, seniority, color, creed and sex. The term "Merit Shop" was coined by John Trimmer, who served from 1952 to 1976 as an officer of the Associated Builders and Contractors, an American trade association consisting primarily of non-union construction contractors. In common usage, "merit shop" is often synonymous with being non-union or open shop.
There are many other organizations that represent merit shop companies. For example, the Independent Electrical Contractors represents almost 3,000 open shop electrical and systems contractors in the USA, while also offering apprentice training, as recognized by the Department of Labor. Founded in 1957, the organization represents its member companies' small business and merit shop interests at the national, state, and local levels of government.
Other merit shop-oriented associations include the Association of Merit Shop Craftsmen and the Merit Shop Roundtable.
A definition provided in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law (1996) defines "merit shop" as a noun meaning “open shop.”