Members of the Tire Association of North America and the International Tire & Rubber Association have a decision to make in December.
They will be asked to vote on the proposed merger of their respective organizations into one industry-wide tire association.
Tire dealer and retreader members of TANA and ITRA should not hesitate in voting ``yes'' on the merger proposal. Not only that, but they should renew their memberships in the new organization and encourage fellow dealers who don't belong to either group to join the newly combined entity, as well.
One of the sad facts about association membership is that nearly 70 percent of tire dealers don't belong to any of the industry's trade groups.
Nick Hodel, past-president of TANA, pointed this out in a speech at the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo. Is it troubling, he asked, that 70 percent of dealers and retreaders are letting others pay for the industry's efforts in Washington, in training and in trade shows and conferences?
The answer, once again, is yes, and more dealers need to join the new group to make it effective and provide the financial backing to increase membership benefits.
The long-talked-about merger of TANA and ITRA finally became a realistic possibility during the recent SEMA/International Tire Expo in Las Vegas.
That in itself is somewhat of a miracle considering that both organizations have fought for years to keep their separate identities.
For nearly a decade there has been a cry from industry suppliers and members of both organizations for the two groups to join together as one and to hold a single trade show instead of two.
Now, for whatever reason, the time has come when such a merger makes sense and is politically possible. Apparently, both organizations have ended their animosity toward each other and agreed to focus on the common good that the combined groups can offer members.
There are many reasons why tire dealers need a strong national association.
Challenges abound, among them the federal government's plans to issue new minimum safety standards for tires, institute additional ergonomics safeguards for workers, require sophisticated tire inflation monitoring systems in new cars, the rising cost of insurance coverage and the ever-present threat of unfair competition in the marketplace. It's the national tire association that will represent the tire industry's position on such issues.
But before the merger becomes a reality, members of both organizations must approve it by at least a two-thirds majority vote.
Many might think this is a fait acompli, but members should not take the measure's approval for granted. When a ballot arrives in the mail, be sure to vote ``yes'' on the merger.