RMA hires Gullott as state lobbyist
WASHINGTON-The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has hired Chris Gullott as its new director of state government affairs.
Mr. Gullott comes to the RMA from the Personal Watercraft Industry Association, where he was manager of external and state affairs. He also was a steering committee coordinator for the New York State Assembly Minority Leader.
He succeeds John Falardeau, who left the RMA to become vice president of government relations for the American Chiropractic Association.
Goodyear closes senior note offer
AKRON-Goodyear said it has closed its offering of $400 million senior notes.
The notes, senior unsecured obligations of the company, will mature on July 1, 2015, and will bear interest at a rate of 9 percent per year.
The Akron-based tire maker said it intends to use the net proceeds to repay $200 million in debt and to replace $190 million of the cash it used to pay toward other debt maturing June 6. Goodyear said it may then use the $190 million to repay other debt obligations or for general corporate purposes.
In a separate move, Goodyear also filed information with the Securities and Exchange Commission to reclassify some of its financials. The company said it integrated its Chemical Products business into its North American Tire unit, effective Jan. 1.
The firm said 53.4 percent of the chemical division's sales and 75.2 percent of its segment operating income resulted from intercompany sales. With the integration, Goodyear's total segment sales no longer reflect these intercompany deals.
Goodyear revised its 2004 North American Tire segment operating income to $73.5 million from $31.5 million reported earlier. In March, Goodyear said Chemical's segment operating income was $177 million. Total segment operating income for 2004 was lowered to $945.5 million from $1.1 billion.
Ohio removes tire fee hike from bill
COLUMBUS, Ohio-The Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (OTDRA) has lobbied the state legislature successfully to remove a proposed tire fee increase from a budget bill.
An amendment to H.B. 66 would have doubled Ohio's tire disposal fee to $2 per tire; the extra funds were earmarked for a littering program administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The proposed increase was dropped from the final version was submitted on June 18 to Gov. Robert Taft during conference committee.
The current tire fee of $1 per new-tire sold will remain unchanged and continue to fund only scrap tire cleanup and recycling efforts, according to Gordon Gough, OTDRA executive director.
Mr. Gough credited OTDRA members for their active lobbying of their respective state representatives for helping get the extra fee removed from the proposed budget.
RMA wins award for `Be Tire Smart'
WASHINGTON-The Public Relations Society of America has given its ``Silver Anvil Award of Excellence'' to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) for its ``Be Tire Smart-Play Your PART'' tire safety program.
The Be Tire Smart program, which offers consumer information on the proper care and safe operation of tires, includes the annual National Tire Safety Week events.
The RMA won the award for the 2004 observance of National Tire Safety Week, in the category of ``Events/Observances 7 or Less Days: Associations/Non-profit Organizations.''
The society began giving the Silver Anvil awards in 1946 to honor public relations campaigns that address contemporary issues with exemplary professional skill and creativity, the RMA said.
EPA, TIA mulling wheel weight guides
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) are discussing the establishment of a program to educate tire dealers on the proper disposal of lead wheel weights.
``We need to tell them that lead weights should not be given to Boy Scouts and sportsmen,'' said Becky MacDicken, TIA director of government affairs.
Used as sinkers in fishing and for other sporting purposes, lead weights can poison water and soil, the EPA has determined, and tire dealers fear that if lead weights are banned, they will be forced to use weights made from much more expensive materials.
The Ecology Center, a Berkeley, Calif.-based environmental group, petitioned the EPA in mid-May for a lead wheel weight ban. The agency has until mid-August to respond. The EPA is searching for ways to fund a joint EPA-TIA educational program, Ms. MacDicken said.
BFS settles suit with guardsman
WASHINGTON-Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) voluntarily has settled a lawsuit the Justice Department filed on behalf of a National Guardsman who works at the tire maker's LaVergne, Tenn., truck tire facility.
In a suit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, the unnamed guardsman-who served on active duty between December 2002 and March 2004 in Operation Iraqi Freedom-sought advancement on the company's progressive pay schedule, rather than being brought back at the same wages he earned before he left. According to the Justice Department, BFS's failure to raise the guardsman's pay constituted a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act of 1994.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker will pay the guardsman about $6,000 in back pay and interest, as well as advancing him on the company pay scale, a company spokesman said. It also is changing its corporate policy regarding employees who are in the National Guard, and will give retroactive back pay and wage increases to about six other guardsmen on the payroll, he added.
Until now, BFS's policy has been to grant differential pay to employees on active military service, making up the difference between their soldier's pay and their BFS wages, which is not required by law, the spokesman said. The court case, settled March 29, was the first time any returning employee had filed a complaint on the issue of wages, he added.
BFS denied any wrongdoing in settling the case, said R. Alexander Acosta, assistant attorney general for civil rights, in a press release.
Toyo spins off Nitto brand division
OSAKA, Japan-Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. will spin off the Nitto brand division of its Toyo Tire (USA) Corp. sales subsidiary and incorporate it as a separate company, to be called Nitto Tire North America Inc., effective July 1.
Toyo said the move is being made to enhance the value of the Nitto brand in the U.S. market and contribute to increased sales, especially from Toyo's new U.S. plant in 2006, through timely, flexible and creative marketing.
Shozo Kibata, president of Toyo Tire (USA) in Cypress, Calif., and Toyo North America Inc. in Bartow County, Ga., will be chairman of Nitto Tire North America, which will be based in Cypress.
Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) also has promoted Joshua Lorig to sales manager, performance and specialty tires.
Mr. Lorig will be responsible for ``maintaining an intense and critical focus on the rapidly changing UHP product and sales segments'' for the company's U.S. market, Toyo said.
He formerly was sales manager of performance tires for the Cypress-based tire maker's southern division and will continue to be responsible for that division's activities and results.
Mr. Lorig previously worked in sales for Tire Rack Inc., an online and mail order marketer based in South Bend, Ind.
Fla. dealers score victory with bill
TAMPA, Fla.-The Florida Automotive Trades Association (FATA) won a legislative victory when Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law a bill that mandates all government entities pay the $1 state tire fee and the $1.50 state battery fee on all new tires and batteries.
Senate Bill 786, sponsored by FATA, was to take effect July 1. Under previously negotiated state purchasing agreements, the selling dealers could not charge government agencies the fees, but dealers were still responsible for remitting the fees from sales to those agencies.
``All of our members are required to pay the mandatory fee to the state when they sell a new tire or battery,'' said FATA President Shawn Long of Long Tire in Tampa. ``A lot of our business comes from servicing state and local government agencies and when these agencies don't pay the fees, it costs us money. Traditionally these contracts are high investment and provide a low return for the dealer, which means every dollar counts.''
The revenue lost by Florida dealers is worth almost $500,000 a year, FATA said, citing a general government revenue conference held during the 2005 Legislative Session.
The tire fee is deposited in the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund, which pays for the cleanup of solid and hazardous waste as well as administration costs for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The battery fee helps keep Florida's water clean through the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund, according to FATA.