A merchants union is simply an organization formed by merchants who may or may not have similar businesses or products but have common goals that they want to achieve. Sometimes these unions are formed for financial reasons, where the members can contribute their resources to form one powerful body that has a lot of influence and is more capable of protecting their interests. Other times, these unions will also help their members in times of financial difficulty for example, when a member needs to make an investment they can take a loan and pay it back from the profits they make as a result. Other times, these unions are formed to protect the interests of merchants and other businessmen. An example is if the local government wants to implement policies that will hurt the merchant class. In such a situation, they can leverage the power of the union to fight these policies or even defend themselves in court. They can also leverage the union’s power to protect themselves from efforts by other organizations for example, giant corporations that want to take over the market by putting the middle class businesses out of business. But the most important reason to form unions is to make your financial transactions and business activities easier. Through these unions, merchants can discover the best suppliers and market segments for their products. Besides, as a merchant, you also get to interact with other merchants that have similar business interests and can collaborate to make strategic moves that are mutually beneficial. The article below discusses some factors to consider when joining a merchants union.
One thing to consider is the objectives of the union. Different unions have different objectives for example, some intend to make merchants more powerful while others to make small businesses grow. The union should have similar objectives and interests as you otherwise, it does not make any practical or financial sense to join it even if it is cheap. If for example, you want to protect your rights and investments as a businessman, you should join a union that has similar interests. The same is true if you are looking for a union that allows you to access bigger loans to grow your business. At times you might have to join more than one union in which case, you can decide how much of your time and resources you are willing to dedicate to each one.
You also have to consider what influence you as a member have in the union. This depends on how much influence you actually need. If the union makes a change that is not in your favor, how much power do you have to stop it? In some unions, your authority depends on how much you have invested in them, while others have elections.
You also have to consider the cost of membership in a union. Some unions indeed have helpful and beneficial agendas that are worth the money members pay however, many others might not be worth the money they charge.