Looming National And State Issues Face Vending Operators; Support Your Associations!

Back on 11-18-09, I asked vending operators to give me one good reason why they dont belong to a national or state vending association. Not one operator offered a reason.Association membership has hit an all-time low, and supplier members are picking up a disproportionate share of the tab.If any operator remains unconvinced of the need to support their associations, the Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council meeting in King of Prussia, Pa. last week gave some strong reasons. Several speakers updated attendees on some critical national and state initiatives that have major consequences for vending operators.Pam Gilbert, manager of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) eastern office, gave an update on how NAMA is trying to make the calorie disclosure rule in the national health care bill manageable for vending operators.Any operator who hasnt paid attention to this requirement, which is expected to become law in some manner, has had his head in the sand.Tom McMahon, former NAMA chief counsel who is now working on retainer for the Tri-State council, reviewed efforts to change the 48-inch vending machine access rule in Pennsylvania. This rule has already been enforced in newly-constructed buildings and it has the potential to become a major headache for all Pennsylvania operators if it isnt resolved.With legislative and regulatory issues like these to contend with, vending operators need to reconsider their apathy about joining associations.Operators are struggling financially, but they havent seen anything yet if these issues arent resolved.And it isnt going to get done without associations.Most operators consider themselves ethical business people.So I ask: is it ethical to allow a minority of operators foot the bill for everyone else?Do your part now!