After years of discussions, lawsuits and delays, the Sheet Metal Workers and United Transportation Union completed their proposed merger Nov. 30.

In a joint letter posted on the union’s website, UTU President Mike Futhey Jr. and Sheet Metal Workers President Joseph Nigro said it was “time to heal our wounds and embark jointly on a productive and successful future.”

Many observers did not expect the merger to happen. After being approved by members of the UTU and Sheet Metal Workers union officials in 2007, a group of transportation union members filed a federal lawsuit to stop the merger, claiming they were not made aware of potential problems between the two unions’ constitutions before their votes. A judge put the merger on hold pending its resolution.

Futhey had publicly declared it “dead” in 2009.

The new union is known as the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and goes by the acronym “SMART.”