WASHINGTON — The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. has set down some rules for its regional offices to form alliances with state-level plastics industry organizations.
Each agreement would be different and would be negotiated by boards that guide SPI activities in its four regions, said SPI spokesman Ron Bruner. SPI's national board adopted the guidelines at its board meeting Sept. 25, he said.
Bruner declined to say which state organizations SPI is talking with, but said the alliances would likely be loose affiliations. The deals would not include financial support from SPI, unlike an agreement with SPI and the Plastics Processors Association in Akron, Ohio, he said.
SPI could provide administrative support and government relations help from its joint state affairs office with the American Plastics Council, Bruner said.
State activity to organize the plastics industry has been increasing dramatically in the last 18 months, with groups independent of Washington-based SPI, but such efforts must be initiated at the grass-roots level, not from SPI, he said.
``I think we've taken a cautious, responsible approach,'' he said. ``I don't think we are that far behind.''
The SPI guidelines generally say the state groups will set their own policy and structure, but must be open to all industry segments and cannot take positions contrary to SPI without talking about the issue with SPI.
The local groups can get $250 dues credits for each of their processor members and should provide grass-roots support for political activities.
State or local plastics groups said the guidelines are a step in the right direction and said SPI has given enough support to their efforts.
Ted Stoughton, a managing director of the Connecticut Plastics Council, based in Middletown, said the 2-year-old group is discussing affiliating with SPI.
``Personally, I'm very satisfied with the combination of what SPI and APC have been doing'' and with SPI's local office, he said.
SPI's New England regional office will have a new manager effective Nov. 1. Jack Murphy, who currently runs SPI's divisions for molders, structural plastics and health care from Washington, takes over for Lori Capezzuto, who left in midsummer, SPI officials said.
SPI and APC have a joint state government affairs unit that is largely funded and managed by APC.
Stoughton said that unit is very active because APC is organized to operate at the state level.
John Renzi, the president of the Berkshire Plastics Network, based in Pittsfield, Mass., said that both SPI and APC have been ``very supportive'' of the regional groups. Renzi also is president of Graphic Impact Signs Inc. in Pittsfield.