What is Open Shop?

MERIT is the Voice of Saskatchewan’s Open Shop Construction Industry

In the construction industry an open shop, also known as a merit shop, is a workplace that allows employees to decide whether to join a union rather than making it a requirement of employment.  Conversely, in a union or closed shop, an employee must be a member of a specified union and pay union dues in order to work for that employer.


While some might say that open shop is anti-union, we prefer to describe it more as a commitment to freedom of choice.  A merit shop embraces the idea that an employer or an employee should have a choice as to their affiliations.


At the heart of the open shop philosophy is a fundamental belief in the tenants of free enterprise and open competition.  MERIT believes open shop is the right option for employees, employers, project owners and tax payers and our advocacy activities support that.

Did you know….

  • There are more than 13,000 contractors in Saskatchewan employing over 50,000 workers.
  • Approximately 85% of these contractors operate as open shops.

That means about 11,000 employers and 43,000 employees are part of Saskatchewan’s open shop construction industry.