As chairman of the national board of directors of the Society of the Plastics Industry, I want to set the record straight with regard to the views expressed by Dick Gellner of Peachtree Plastics (Feb. 15 Mailbag: ``SPI should reconsider APC plan'').
While I respect Mr. Gellner's right to his views on the SPI/ American Plastics Council unification discussions, there are a few misconceptions in his letter that should not pass without correction.
SPI has indeed provided leadership in the grass-roots and state activities so valued by Mr. Gellner. For decades our regional offices have been focal points for bringing together committed members of our industry in support of a number of goals, from state and local lobbying to work force development to community involvement and industry growth initiatives.
SPI was the original driving force behind the state industry summits that have been so instrumental in educating lawmakers throughout the country about the contributions and needs of the plastics industry, and we provide the economic research that backs up our message with solid facts.
It should also be noted that state lobbying and other grass-roots activities are conducted through a joint state government affairs initiative between the SPI and APC. In fact, the correct name for this effort is ``SPI/APC State Government Affairs.''
Our members value and support these activities, and we have seen no evidence that any lack in this or any other area is ``driving members away'' or contributing to a decline in membership.
Quite the contrary: Last month alone we welcomed 92 new members. And with our value-oriented core restructuring and an intensified membership recruitment effort, we expect to build on our broad-based representation of this industry.
SPI has not turned its back on industry unity. We continue to believe strongly that speaking with a unified voice is in the industry's best interest.
But to be successful, any plan for a merged organization must have the support of all segments of the industry.
We have already expressed to the APC that we are indeed willing to talk about any reasonable proposals that would bring SPI and APC back together under one association. But we must also have assurance that the APC is willing to do the same.
Harry B. Ussery