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Christina Sickles Merchant

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Christina Sickles Merchant Obituary
Merchant, Christina


A Memorial Service honoring Christina Sickles Merchant's life and legacy will be held in Hendricks Chapel on the campus of Syracuse University on Friday, November 15th from 3 to 4PM. A reception in the Maxwell Public Events Room (220 Eggers Hall) will be held following the service from 4 to 5PM. Christina Sickles Merchant passed away surrounded by friends and family on August 5, 2013 in New York City. She was born in Cortland, NY in 1949 and was the youngest daughter of Dr. Walter Sickles and Jean Haupin Sickles of Ithaca, NY and Windsor, NY. Ms. Merchant received her undergraduate degree (B.S. 1971) from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and an M.S. with honors (1990) in Human Resource and Organizational Development from the joint program of the American University and the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. Ms. Merchant married Robert "Bob" Merchant, an investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor, in 1982. Ms. Merchant was a highly respected and experienced dispute resolution professional who was most widely known for her work in fostering sustainable partnerships between labor and management throughout the private, public, and international arenas. Her experience was acquired through her vast work with several federal agencies, notably the Department of Defense (DoD) as Director of the Labor-Management Cooperation, the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as Director of Labor-Management Cooperation, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) as a federal mediator based in Philadelphia PA, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In 1996, she became an independent dispute resolution consultant to a diverse national and international labor and management client population. In 2002, Ms. Merchant was Director of the Labor Management Project, based in New York City, which was funded by and served the members of 1199 SEIU, the employer members of the League of Voluntary Hospitals, and other participating employers. Ms. Merchant was a Fellow with the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and in 2007 accepted the position of Professor of Practice in the Department of Public Administration and faculty associate in the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflict (PARC). At the Maxwell School, she found her true passion—teaching and handing forward to the next generation of practitioners the expert skills she had developed and refined during her years as a dispute resolution professional. She co-authored the popular book entitled "Designing Conflict Management Systems: A Guide to Creating Productive and Healthy Organizations" which was selected as the winner of the Best Book Award in 1997 by the International Association of Conflict Management. She was past president (1994-1995) of the Society of Professional in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR, now ACR), was active in numerous professional organizations, and published articles from the perspective of the third-party neutral. Christina was preceded in death by her husband, Robert N. Merchant, who died in 1982. She is survived by two sisters: Dr. Barbara S. Greene of Bloomfield, New Jersey and Cheryl J. Sickles of Wynnewood, PA; five stepchildren: Robin Strickler of Aston PA, Jennifer Merchant-Stilley of Birdsboro, PA, Robert "Linc" Merchant of Hubbard, OR, David Merchant of San Jose, CA and Rebecca Merchant of Wilkes Barre, PA; five grandchildren and numerous cousins. Those wishing to honor Christina's memory can send a donation to the "Christina Merchant Fund" at Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 200 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244.

Published in Ithaca Journal on Nov. 11, 2013
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