The joining of the Sheet Metal Workers union with the United Transportation Union has been delayed, pending the outcome of a federal lawsuit.

Some transportation union members filed suit to stop the merger, which was to take effect Jan. 1, claiming they were not made aware of potential problems between the two unions’ constitutions when they originally voted last year.

The court ruled Dec. 27 that UTU members were entitled to a copy of the new union’s constitution, and Feb. 5 extended a restraining order keeping the merger on hold until at least May, when the court is expected to make its final decision.

The merger had been approved by the two unions in summer 2007. The new union was to be called the International Association of Sheet Metal, Rail and Transportation Workers and be known by the acronym SMART.

While the case works its way through federal court, UTU and Sheet Metal Workers officials are currently working on a new constitution, which transportation union President Mike Futhey has said will be presented members for another vote.