Value for Those Who Participate
Late in June, the Snack Food Association reported two significant legislative victories — one on Capitol Hill and the other in the Maine state legislature — in which SFA members made sure their voices were heard.
In Washington, the U.S. Senate defeated the “Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act,” which would have allowed employees to form unions by signing a card rather than voting by secret ballot. Defeating that bill was a key SFA priority and a top issue at the SFA’s Day in D.C. Spring Summit.
In Maine, the State Senate voted to postpone indefinitely Legislative Document 1925, a tax measure that proposed to amend the definition of “prepared foods” to include candy, soft drinks and “selective foods” (snack foods) and tax them at 8%. Defeating this proposed legislation has been a top priority for the SFA and the Don’t Tax Food coalition, of which the SFA is a member.  
Meanwhile, this summer, SFA President and CEO Jim McCarthy and his public affairs team worked with allied industry groups to prevent harmful provisions from being included in the new Farm Bill, which is expected to be finalized sometime this fall. Despite all of the publicity about childhood obesity and calls for governmental intervention, the version approved by the House of Representatives in late July does not include proposals that would have further restricted foods that can be sold under the Food Stamp program or included in the School Lunch program.
This represents another significant achievement and demonstrates once again why it is so important to support the SFA and its government relations initiatives. Do you ever wonder what would be like if employees no longer had the right to a secret ballot election when considering the forming of a union or if your products were subjected to taxes such as those proposed in Maine? Think of the impact that restricting snacks from federal programs would have on your business. None of those initiatives are beneficial to our member companies
But government relations, while critical, are only part of the bottom line benefits of belonging to and participating in the SFA.
This fall, SFA member companies, executives, management, marketing and operations personnel all have an opportunity to participate in programs that have been specifically designed to help them improve their own performance and their company’s bottom line.
Those conferences include the Executive Leadership Forum, September 30-October 2, at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Fla.; the Wilbur A. Gould Total Quality Management Short Course, September 10-14 at The Ohio State University; the SFA Management Workshop, October 21-23, at the Wyndham Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Pa., and the Pretzel and Baked Snacks Seminar, October 23 and 24, also in Gettysburg.
You can find more details about these meetings inside this section of this magazine or by visiting the SFA Web site at But I strongly encourage every SFA member company to consider participating in the conference or seminar that most applies to them. There is value, but only if you participate.
In fact, that can be said for many of the SFA’s benefits and opportunities, from the publications and products designed to help improve production to our online educational program to workshops and seminars to SNAXPO in March to our governmental affairs initiatives.
Take advantage of these programs and participate. You’ll be glad you did.
Tom Dempsey
SFA Chairman