Leaders of the New York-based Plastic Bag Association decided May 8 to join the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., and now will ask their member companies to approve or reject a deal worked out between PBA and SPI.
Under the deal, PBA would join SPI starting Jan. 1. The deal is good news for SPI of Washington, which has suffered lately from defections of some members of its largest unit, the Composites Institute, and the loss of several large resin supplier members.
PBA's deal would create a unit that likely will be called the SPI Film and Bag Federation. Leaders say the unit would give the bag industry a stronger political voice and a better chance to build regional organizations.
But the new alliance may not include the strongest regional bag group, the California Film Extruders & Converters Association of Corona del Mar, Calif., which apparently is undecided at this time about whether to join SPI.
CFECA sees ``no reason to rush into anything'' but is ``looking to work closely on a fraternal basis'' with SPI and the new federation, CFECA board member and President Robert Bateman said by telephone. He is president of Roplast Industries Inc. in Oroville, Calif.
``CFECA welcomes the first step toward the establishment of the federation [and] is considering whether it is appropriate to try [to] integrate CFECA [within the federation] at this stage,'' Bateman said. CFECA sponsors programs in southern and northern California and plans a June 4 exploratory meeting about forming a group in the Seattle area.
PBA officials said they intend to continue to work closely with CFECA.
PBA President James Funderburk said PBA never has had the money for significant political activity. Funderburk, who is manager of consumer services for First Brands Corp. in Danbury, Conn., said PBA wants to establish regional groups, starting with Texas and New York.
Getting new members as part of that regional push is crucial to PBA's plans to join SPI and fund an expansion of the group's educational effort, he said.
If new members join, the group's education effort should be able to be funded out of general SPI dues, rather than the extra money that a handful of PBA members kick in above their regular dues, Funderburk said. The group will spend about $135,000 on education this year, out of a total budget of about $250,000, he said.
All PBA members pay a flat $2,000 now. Some firms will see higher dues and some lower under SPI's structure, which charges firms based on sales, he said.
PBA members will have a two-year grace period before they must decide if they want to join SPI and pay full SPI dues. During that period those companies not wanting to join still must pay dues to PBA's successor, but those dues have yet to be decided, Funderburk said.
PBA members rejected an alliance with the Washington-based Flexible Packaging Association because the group's dues would have been significantly higher than SPI's, Funderburk said.
PBA's spring meeting was held May 7-8 in Arlington, Va. The results of whether PBA members want to join SPI should be available in two months.
Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom contributed to this story.