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Merger discussions tests SPI, APC chiefs

The proposed merger of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. with the American Plastics Council is an example of how easy it is to talk about teamwork but how difficult it can be to accomplish.

Both have much to gain by pooling resources and working in a coordinated fashion to advance the interests of the industry.

Recently, SPI's Machinery Division approved a resolution reflecting the sense of its membership regarding the merger (see resolution below). The members want SPI to maintain its present name and identity, and be the sole voice of the plastics industry.

Those requirements are set forth, among others, as preconditions to formal merger talks. APC essentially would become an SPI public relations program.

This is what APC has done very well under the direction of Red Cavaney, who, like SPI President Larry Thomas, will not discuss any disagreements about the merger issue publicly.

The real test of leadership for both men is to impress on each organization's directorate that this is a case in which individual interests must be subordinated for group unity. The 60-year-old SPI is right to believe that a single association, with proportional constituent representation, has the best potential to do the industry overall the most good. Let that be the focus of the unification, and the merger talks will succeed sooner rather than later.

Test of the resolution

Whereas the Machinery Division has a clear interest in this matter and in preserving the goodwill it has built up in the past 50 years in the International Plastics Exposition that is so closely and favorably identified with SPI which, itself, has an honored reputation of more than 60 years standing, and whereas, the American Plastics Council has, through a national advertising campaign, promoted broader public awareness of the benefits of plastics; and whereas, for issues [of] management purposes, it is vital that the plastics industry be served by a single uniform voice, be it resolved that the SPI Machinery Division supports the merger of the American Plastics Council and the Society of the Plastics Industry provided that the following criteria are met:

The Society of the Plastics Industry, with its current name, and associated goodwill, philosophy, culture, management, goals and objectives, is the surviving entity.

That the SPI be identified as the only voice of the plastics industry on all issues that the industry must deal with on a local, state and national level.

That the APC, as a program of the SPI, continues to independently manage and fund the radio and television advertising campaigns for public awareness of the positive aspects of plastics.

That as a result of said merger, the SPI provides balanced representation of processors, resin producers, and machinery/moldmakers interests in the governing body of the association.

That the SPI/APC merger be voted on by the entire Board of the SPI to assure that a consensus exists across affected constituencies for the decision.

Further, be it known that the Machinery Division will not support any unification which does not meet the above criteria.