Will YMCA Merger Include Equal Benefits for All Employees?

On Tuesday, June 3, at 6:00 pm, the Board of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA is likely to announce that it will merge with the YMCA of the Triangle Association (YOTA). The meeting will take place at Amity Church, 825 N Estes Drive, adjacent to the CHCYMCA.

This is an unfolding story that we have been chronicling on OrangePolitics for a number of years: 

Up until this evening, there has been doubt that YOTA would extend full benefits to its LGBTQ employees, despite calls by CHCYMCA members to do so before following through on a merger. The CHCYMCA has been unable to extend full benefits to its LGBTQ employees because of a North Carolina law stipulating that employers can only extend benefits to dependents of LGBTQ employees if 50+1 full-time non-LGBTQ employees take up the benefits offered. The CHCYMCA does not have enough full-time employees to enable them to extend these benefits. YOTA, however, does have more than enough employees, but has been unwilling to extend such benefits. (It has been suggested that this may be for fear of upsetting conservative members of YOTA.)

Enough members of the CHCYMCA board support the merger that it is likely that a merger will pass. Two CHCYMCA board members and concerned members (including myself) and local elected officials have been calling on Doug McMillan, CEO of YOTA, to change YOTA's policy to an equitable one before such a merger takes place. Mr. McMillan had stated that he was unaware that YOTA was able to extend equal benefits, but has since been informed that YOTA can indeed offer equal benefits because of the number of people they employ. A proposed policy change has been suggested to Mr. McMillan and, as of tonight, he has stated that new policy language has been drafted extending the same benefits to all employees.

This is welcome news for both LGBTQ employees and our community, which values equal treatment. The merger and policies of YOTA/CHCYMCA, however, will continue to be watched closely.

Here is a list of the current CHCYMCA board members: 

  • Martha Aldridge, financial advisor
  • Allen Baddour, superior court judge
  • Meg Branson, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce
  • Rich Dlesk, local business owner
  • Cathy Dowell-Vickers, local business owner
  • Jim Evans, Harrington Bank
  • Aaron Freeman, Redeye
  • Tracye Giles, SAS
  • Susan Greene, SPG Associates
  • Dabney Grinnan, Dr. Greg Ruff, MD
  • Ed Holub, Global Source
  • Julie Jennings, local business owner
  • Kathy Martyn, MEY Corporation
  • Steve Scroggs, retired, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
  • Ken Weiss, UNC Music Department
  • Sandy Wong



Mayor Lavelle spoke of this issue to the Equality NC citizen day of action at the legislature that had LGBTQ folks and allies from the triangle and from across the state in attendance in Raleigh today. She said some final decisions or approvals could be happening tonight. So I think that means there are even more folks watching and awaiting the outcome of this.



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