Balance and RPFMA (Rubber and Plastic Footwear Manufacturers Association) will co-host a news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of
supporting domestic footwear manufacturing, and keeping jobs in the USA, in
light of ongoing negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership and changes to
US trade policy. Representatives from Canada's Kamik will also be in attendance.
The event will take place July 18, 2012 from 11:30 am 12:00 noon at the Capitol Visitor
Center – Senate Visitor’s Center (SVC) Room 214. The Capitol
Visitor Center is located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at
First Street and East Capitol Street.
Participants from New Balance include Rob
DeMartini, President and CEO, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.; Raye Wentworth,
New Balance Plant Manager, Norridgewock, Maine; Brendan Melly, New Balance
Plant Manager, Lawrence, Massachusetts; Tom Luck, New Balance store owner, Ohio;
Wesley McCluney, New Balance store owner, Alabama/Georgia; John Strojny, New
Balance store owner, Delaware/Virginia/Washington DC; and New Balance
manufacturing associates from Maine and Massachusetts. Representatives from
Kamik include Norman Cook, Executive Vice President, Kamik Footwear/Genfoot and
Joe Bichai, Vice President of Manufacturing, Kamik Footwear/Genfoot.
Also attending the event
include US Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), US Senator Scott Brown
(R-Massachusetts), US Representative Michael Michaud (D-Maine), US
Representative Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), and US Representative Niki
In a statement, New Balance,
headquartered in Boston, MA, noted that it has the following mission:
Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are
proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to
host. New Balance is currently the only
athletic shoe company that manufactures footwear in the U.S. with 25 percent of
its U.S. footwear shipments produced at five New England facilities. The
company also operates a manufacturing facility in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 4000 associates
around the globe, and in 2011 reported worldwide sales of $2.04 billion.
The Rubber and Plastics Footwear Manufacturers
Association (RPFMA) was formed in June 1986. Prior to that date, the industry
operated for many years as the Footwear Division of the Rubber Manufacturers
Association (RMA) with offices in Washington, DC. The Association is singularly dedicated to represent the industry
in domestic trade and legislative issues of importance to the members. The
primary focus is to protect the remaining US rubber footwear industry against
imports by maintaining the existing duty rates on the categories of rubber (non
leather) footwear still manufactured in the US by the Association's members.
The RPFMA represents almost all of the rubber
and plastic footwear produced in the United States. Both the waterproof footwear segment and the
fabric/plastic upper-rubber soled footwear producers are part of its
membership. New Balance, the only remaining US manufacturer of athletic
footwear, has been a member since 1978.