American Textile Hall of Fame

Class of 2004 inducted

September 27, 2004

LOWELL, MA — Four industry leaders were inducted into the American Textile Hall of Fame (ATHF) during ceremonies at the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) here on Sept. 13.

On hand for induction ceremonies include (L-R) Michael J. Smith, ATHM president and CEO; Joseph H. Anderer, accepting for American Viscose Corporation; W. Duke Kimbrell of Parkdale Mills; Gaylon Booker, accepting for the National Cotton Council; designer Jack Lenor Larsen; and John H. Pearson Jr., ATHM board of trustees chairman.
Photo by Frank J. Leone Jr.

W. Duke Kimbrell, chairman of Parkdale Mills, Inc., Jack Lenor Larsen, the National Cotton Council of America (NCC) and American Viscose Corporation became the fourth class tapped into the hall.

Industry leaders, friends and families attended a luncheon celebrating the induction. The program honors dedication and commitment to the nation’s textile industry. The ATHF is permanently housed here at the museum.

ATHF board of governors and the museum board of trustees hosted this year’s luncheon and induction ceremony honoring the Class of 2004. Kimbrell, of Gastonia, NC has built Parkdale into the nation’s largest producer of cotton yarns.

Larsen is a leader in 20th century textile design and technical innovation whose New York design studio grew into a global organization. He continues to influence 21st century weavers and designers.

The NCC, established in 1938 and based in Memphis, TN, provides a strong voice for the American cotton industry from grower to manufacturer.

American Viscose Corporation (1922–1963), whose first plant was in Marcus Hook, PA, was recognized for its early leadership in the field of manmade fibers and its growth into the largest American supplier of rayon.

The program included welcoming remarks by John H. Pearson Jr., ATHM board of trustees chairman, and Michael J. Smith, ATHM president and CEO.

The award ceremony featured Joseph H. Anderer accepting the award for the American Viscose Corporation from ATHF board of governors member Arthur M. Spiro, AMS Tex Enterprises, Inc., Great Neck. NY.

Kimbrell accepted the award from ATHF board of governors chairman James M. Fitzgibbons, retired chairman, Fieldcrest Cannon, Inc., Kannapolis, NC.

Larsen accepted the award from ATHF board of governors member and ATHM board of trustees vice chairman Hiram M. Samel, president of Merida Meridian, Boston.

Gaylon Booker, National Cotton Council past president and CEO and current advisor, accepted the award from ATHM board of Trustees member Karl Spilhaus.

Among guests attending this year’s event were ATHF board members Robert I. Dalton Jr., retired chairman of Tech-Tex, Inc., Charlotte, NC, and Edward B. Stevens, chairman of Ames Textile Corp., Lowell, MA, ex-officio member and ATHM board of trustees chairman emeritus.

Also attending were ATHM board member Dr. A. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; Kimbrell’s daughter Shepard Halsch of Darien, CT; his daughter Pam Warlick and son-in-law, Anderson Warlick, CEO of Parkdale, of Gastonia; and Robert T. Davis and William D. Lawson, also of Gastonia.

“We are honored to welcome these leaders,” Fitzgibbons said. “They have made an important difference in the textile industry, and we offer them a place in the American Textile Hall of Fame to tell their story to future generations.”

The American Textile Hall of Fame, established in 2001 with a board of governors appointed by the museum’s board of trustees, honors past and present individuals, corporations and institutions that have made significant contributions to the textile industry in America as well as those who have advanced the role and appreciation of textiles in American life.

Members of the inaugural class in 2000 were industry leader Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Company, Spartanburg, SC; textile pioneer Samuel Slater (1768-1835); and energy supplier to the Carolinas Duke Power.

The Class of 2002 included E. I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company, Frederick B. Dent, James Spencer Love and Whitin Machine Works.

Class of 2003 inductees included Dalton McMichael Sr. (1914–2001) of Madison, NC; and The Draper Corporation (1816–1980) of Hopedale, MA.

Textile News Index

NTA urges government to self-initiate safeguards

September 27, 2004

BOSTON — At the 150th annual meeting of the National Textile Association on Sept. 20, NTA members voted to ask the Bush Administration to immediately self-initiate China textile safeguards with regard to textile and apparel products scheduled to be removed from quota restraints on Jan. 1.

Highly placed administration officials have repeatedly and publicly assured NTA members that the China WTO accession agreement and the U.S. procedures for the safeguards permit consideration, now, of safeguards on goods still under quota until the end of the year.

“The procedures say ‘threat,’ the agreement says ‘threat,’ and (Undersecretary of Commerce) Grant Aldonas has told us that the safeguard may be used against the threat posed by uncontrolled imports from China,” said newly elected NTA Chairman Jonathan Stevens.

“And,” continued Stevens, “if the administration is serious about doing anything to help the 700,000 textile and apparel workers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and throughout the country, it would send a powerful message to the Chinese if CITA (the U.S. Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements) were to self-initiate safeguard cases.”

The safeguards, which limit the growth in imports from China, were agreed to by China in the U.S.-China bilateral textile agreement of 1997 and incorporated into China’s accession to the World Trade Organization. If imports of textile or apparel products from China cause or threaten to cause market disruption in the U.S., the U.S. may ask China to negotiate a voluntary restraint.

An automatic limit of no more than 7.5 percent growth over the prior year’s imports (6 percent in the case of wool products) goes into place until the U.S. and China can reach an agreement on the level of restraints. The safeguard is applied for one year, and may be renewed for up to two more years.

In 2003 a coalition of U.S. textile groups, including NTA, filed safeguard actions on imports from China of three products groups that were removed from quota controls in 2002: knit fabrics, brassieres, and dressing gowns.

Late last year the U.S. announced restraints of one-year duration on these products imported from China.

Textile News Index

Textile Trade Show

ATME-I draws favorable reviews

September 27, 2004

By Devin Steele

GREENVILLE, SC — The American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ATME-I) trade show concluded its five-day run on September 17 — and, to the surprise of many, perhaps, drew mostly favorable reviews from exhibitors.

Going into the show, last held in April 2001, expectations were generally low, considering the accelerated downturn of the U.S. textile industry and its hazy future. Therefore, many of the 483 vendors probably believed that any real interest in their products would make for a successful show.

Obviously, the 2004 edition was smaller than ATME-Is of yesteryear, with only three halls instead of four being used — despite the fact that the previous two-cycle show had been consolidated this time.

The best assessment of the event may have come from Rodger Hartwig of textile machinery company representative SYMTECH, Inc. “It is what it is — and what it is is what you make it,” he said.

According to unaudited attendance figures, 5,442 visitors entered the Palmetto Expo Center, including 4,703 from the U.S.

Complete coverage of the event will be included in the ATME-I Review edition on Nov. 11. To be included in this issue, please send a show report from your company and any further comments you’d like to provide about the event by e-mail to or by fax at 704-527-5114.

The next ATME-I, set for 2006 in Atlanta, will be previewed in the next edition.

Textile News Index

Trade Association Annual Meeting

NCMA draws on 98-year history of advocacy

September 27, 2004

Editor’s note: Following is a Q&A with Tom McCall, chairman of the North Carolina Manufacturers Association (NCMA) and plant manager of WestPoint Stevens’ Bob Stevens Fabrication Plant in Wagram, NC. McCall will hold the gavel during the group’s 98th annual meeting, set for Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the Grandover Resort & Spa in Greensboro, NC. He responded to questions submitted to him by STN editor Devin Steele.

STN: Obviously, another challenging year lay ahead for domestic manufacturing and the association when you took the reins as NCMA chairman last year. How did the group face these challenges and how do you measure success?

McCall: It has been a challenging year, particularly with the demise of ATMI (the American Textile Manufacturers Institute) and the emergence of the new organization (the National Council of Textile Organizations), as well as the specter of 2005 and China looming over us. NCMA has done everything in its power to stay the course and continue to provide first-class services to members.

Our lobbying efforts, which I will detail later, were again successful and we continue to monitor the state’s regulatory activities and any potential laws affecting manufacturers.

NCMA has also moved to new office space in Raleigh that better reflects the leaner, more efficient organization that it has become over the past five years. We believe that with the cost-saving changes initiated by the Executive Committee this year, NCMA will be in a position to advocate for our manufacturers for many years to come.

STN: How has manufacturing contraction affected NCMA’s membership numbers over the last year? How do those figures compare to last year’s at this time?

McCall: NCMA’s membership numbers have remained fairly steady this past year. Number-wise, we have retained over 87 percent of our members. In some cases, such as the Burlington/Cone Mills merger, two of our members became one, so the numbers don’t tell the entire story.

STN: How many new members have you added during the past year?

McCall: 2004 has been a year of solidifying our base, rather than adding new members. We have several new members, however, and hope to add more as the economy improves.

STN: How do membership numbers or percentages break down in terms of sector?

McCall: Roughly 33 percent of our members are boat builders, 54 percent are textile companies and the remainder is in other sectors such as food processing.

STN: What’s your sales pitch for prospective members?

McCall: We draw on our 98-year history of advocating for and supporting manufacturers in the state of North Carolina and explain that NCMA provides enhanced political strength through numbers, coalitions and a united voice. Group action adds strength and prevents any single company from coming under government scrutiny.

In addition, when necessary, NCMA can intervene in behalf of an individual member. For example, since our chief staff officer Jim Bell is a licensed attorney, he is able to file briefs and arguments to support individual members before the Judiciary when to do so is deemed helpful to similarly situated members.

We point out to prospective members that we are the eyes and ears of manufacturing at the General Assembly and at state government agencies. Our Raleigh-based staff provides an “alert” system to identify legislative and regulatory issues directly affecting manufacturers.

Jim Bell also provides professional legal and lobbying experience to effectively handle the technical and governmental issues involving manufacturers.

NCMA members have access to NCMA committee meetings and educational conferences. These meetings provide technical and cost-savings advice as well as open doors to state officials and regulators.

NCMA coordinates media advocacy and relations for North Carolina’s manufacturers. One central source for media communications ensures that the correct facts are conveyed and gives manufacturing’s side of issues.

STN: North Carolina has shed 216,000 factory jobs or 27 percent of its blue-collar work force, putting it second only to California in the number of factory jobs lost since 1998, according to a recent Chicago Tribune article. How is NCMA working to help displaced members and improving the economic landscape for manufacturing?

McCall: Yes, we have taken some major hits, but a lot of us are still here and working for the future. The textile and apparel industry in North Carolina still employs about 100,000 people, not an insignificant number. NCMA realizes that education and research are crucial for the future of textiles, boat-making and manufacturing in general.

With this in mind, NCMA plays an important role in ensuring that sufficient state money is spent both at the university and community college level to sustain a work force that has skills necessary to compete in the global economy. As for job losses, the press is just beginning to realize that this is more than a textile problem and that federal government inaction is largely to blame.

Recent press reports of impressive job growth over the past year fail to recognize that there has been a net loss of 1 million manufacturing jobs since 2001. NCMA is regularly communicating with the North Carolina press to make sure the facts are known. NCMA is also working with its counterpart organizations in Washington to make sure that Congress and the (Bush) administration realize what has happened and what remains at risk if proper action is not taken.

As for those who have lost their jobs and remain unemployed, NCMA has been directly involved in lobbying at the state level to ensure that the North Carolina unemployment insurance fund remains intact, but not at the sole expense of manufacturers who have been forced to downsize.

Also at the state level, NCMA has historically, through its committee system, reviewed tax issues, environmental issues and workplace issues to make sure that laws and policies in each of those areas is favorable to North Carolina manufacturers, as well as to ensure that state policy enhances and promotes the creation and expansion of manufacturing operations so that the unemployed may find work.

STN: What are some of your legislative/regulatory successes over the past year?

McCall: North Carolina has a “long” legislative session in odd-numbered years and a “short” legislative session in even-numbered years. Thus, this past session has been a “short” session, designed to fine-tune legislation enacted in 2003. Nevertheless, I am happy to report that all adverse legislation that would have burdened manufacturers with higher taxes, greater health care costs and overzealous environmental regulation were defeated.

Likewise, the attempt to eliminate state funding for the North Carolina Center for Applied Textile Technology (NCCATT), which has served the needs of the textile industry for decades, was defeated. Legislation was also passed that moves forward our pursuit of regulatory reform to ensure that state agencies adopt only appropriate rules that do not exceed legislative authorization.

Employers were given increased legal standing to obtain restraining orders to prevent disruptions at the workplace caused by third parties, and legislation passed to mandate that state purchasing agents look first at products manufactured in North Carolina. Finally, we are presently working to exempt manufacturers who fall under the federal MACTs from the North Carolina Air Toxic Regulations.

STN: What other notable legislative/regulatory issues are NCMA dealing with?

McCall: As was previously mentioned, NCMA was successful in defeating legislative efforts to, in effect, destroy the NC Center for Applied Textile Technology, which provides research and job training for many of our member companies. The state is presently studying the future of the center, and we anticipate that it will be an ongoing effort to preserve the center’s independent status within the community college system.

The NCMA Tax Committee has developed a highly technical franchise tax bill that is aimed at helping many of our members who have experienced net economic losses during the past three years. We will be discussing that bill with the new General Assembly members beginning after the November elections and right up to the 2005 session in January.

STN: According to a recent article in the Charlotte Observer, the state’s boat-building industries are “buzzing with workers, orders and new products.” To what do you attribute this turnaround?

McCall: The boat builders were less impacted than other manufacturers by the recent recession, mostly because they are not as endangered by imports from China. They had less ground to make up and their customers are among the wealthiest people in the country. According to economists, the wealthy were the first to benefit from the economic turnaround. As the Charlotte Observer article points out, when wealthy people feel more confident in the economy, they begin to buy luxury, big-ticket items again.

STN: What are some of the bright spots in manufacturing in North Carolina?

McCall: Aside from boat manufacturing, which is thriving in North Carolina and more prevalent here than in any other state except Florida, medical and industrial applications of textile products, nonwovens and biotechnology continue to do well. There are exciting things going on in the areas of nanotechnology and electrotextiles that hold promise, mostly due to the fact that China cannot match the United States on the technology front yet.

Those companies using technology and a well-trained work force to set their products apart from foreign imports will continue to succeed. One other piece of legislation that I did not mention above that is helping in this area is the R&D tax credit bill that NCMA worked on to ensure that our members who are working with the university and community college system in research efforts are allowed tax credits for such projects.

NCMA’s members persist in proving themselves innovative and resilient as they have in years past by adapting to different economic situations, including the recent woes caused by the United States’ unfair trade policies. I have no doubt North Carolina’s manufacturers will rise to the occasion again.

STN: What are the biggest challenges facing North Carolina manufacturers?

McCall: Obviously, the biggest challenge for our textile manufacturers will be the lifting of the remaining global textile and clothing quotas in January. NCMA continues to work closely with AMTAC, NCTO, the National Textile Association and other like-minded groups to “fight the good fight” in trying to convince the current administration and Congress to act now in preventing Chinese domination of world trade in these areas.

Just this month, NCMA joined those associations in filing threat-based China safeguard petitions. We are hopeful that in the remaining months before the quotas are lifted either congressional or administration action will take place.

STN: What “exciting” is going on within the organization?

McCall: NCMA continues to provide educational opportunities for its members through its committees and various one-day seminars held throughout the year. The plight of North Carolina’s manufacturers finally seems to be getting the attention of both political leaders and the general public in the wake of publicity about the demise of some of our manufacturers.

NCMA has seen the positive impact this attention has had on our legislators in our everyday lobbying efforts. In addition, NCMA’s 2004 annual meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss manufacturing issues, share information and meet with political leaders.

NCMA’s Executive Committee formed a long-range planning committee last fall and this committee continues to look at partnerships with other trade groups in North Carolina, including the many regional groups throughout the state. They are also evaluating how the “leaner, meaner” NCMA is working, and making suggestions on improving member services and cost efficiency, as exemplified in the recent staff change and the move to new office space.

STN: What factors led the association to ally itself with the new National Council of Textile Organizations?

McCall: As the late-great (former Guilford Mills Chairman) Chuck Hayes always said, there must be unity within the industry if we are to succeed politically. Also, we have the greatest confidence in NCTO’s founding leaders, our own Allen Gant (of Glen Raven, Inc.) and Jim Chesnutt (of National Spinning Co., Inc.).

Over the years, our work with Cass Johnson has convinced us that he is the perfect choice to head the new NCTO staff. We look forward to many years of cooperative work with NCTO.

STN: Why is serving in a leadership role such as this important to you?

McCall: I read recently where the U. S. textile industry is like a tree with its roots cut off — its leaves will remain green for a while longer, but soon fall. Without question, N.C. textile manufacturing has reached a critical juncture. However, we can still grow, as can all of North Carolina manufacturing, if given growth opportunities.

Serving as chairman of NCMA has given me the opportunity to work with our membership to form a bellwether that sounds loud and clear whenever government becomes insensitive to the importance of manufacturing growth.

STN: Please describe the working relationship you have with your officers and board, the NCMA staff and your expected successor, Randy Ramsey of Jarrett Boat Works.

McCall: The NCMA staff, officers and board all share a common cause — making the manufacturing climate a healthier one in the state of North Carolina. When the gavel is passed to Randy later this year he will, without fail, continue to trumpet that cause.

STN: How has NCMA helped you grow professionally?

McCall: As a plant manager, I place a high value on any opportunity to exchange manufacturing ideas, concepts and information. My association and interaction with the NCMA staff, fellow board members and membership has provided me a great opportunity to do that.

STN: What special do you have planned for this year’s annual meeting and what do you hope members will take away?

McCall: We have a good, strong program with speakers as varied as the dean of the College of Textiles at NC State and the North Carolina Labor Commissioner. Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue will be on hand to accept our 2004 Chairman’s Award.

We also have Jim Leonard, deputy assistant secretary of Commerce at the U.S. Department of Commerce, back on the program with an important twist: this year, we’ve given Jim Chesnutt, representing NCTO, the opportunity to use the podium and the microphone instead of responding to Jim Leonard from his seat in the audience. We anticipate that this exchange will be as entertaining, educational and inspiring as it has been in the past two years.

We would like our members to take away from this meeting that although the fight has gotten ugly, we have not lost. We are strongest when we unite. We must give constant feedback to Congress. We cannot wait for someone else to do it for us — we must be aggressive agitators.

It’s not our traditional role, but these are not normal times. Already our hard work in this area is paying off. The House Democratic leadership recently sent a strongly worded appeal to the president to protect textiles in the face of the quota phaseout and advising him that they will introduce legislation to force him into action.

Also, we must promote the value of education in our local communities. New ideas will come from fertile minds that will create new businesses and new jobs. We must accelerate our people’s creativity by pushing the value of education every chance we get.

I also hope our members will use this meeting to talk with the various political leaders who will be here and let them know that our numbers might be smaller than in past years, but our resolve is greater.

STN: Are there any other matters you would like to address?

McCall: I would simply like to add that it is vitally important for all of us in manufacturing to keep abreast of what is happening in Washington and our state capitals.

If there was ever a time when we could ignore politics and concentrate solely on our businesses, that time has passed. We now know that our very existence can be determined by government policies or the lack thereof.

Organizations such as NCMA and NCTO are a key link in keeping us active and informed.


Getting to know ...

Tom McCall, NCMA Chairman

• Title: Plant manager, WestPoint Stevens’ Bob Stevens Plant, Wagram, NC

• Hometown: Scotland County community of Elmore, NC

• Resides: Deercroft, NC

• Education: East Carolina University, B.S. in industry, 1970

• Military: U.S. Army Specialist, personnel accounting

• Career: Shift manager, Springs Mills’ Crandall Plant, Wagram, NC, 1972; subsequently served with J. P. Stevens & Company, WestPoint Pepperell and WestPoint Stevens, career changes resulting from either a buyout, acquisition or merger. “I have always hung my hat in the same building, although on many different nails,” he said.

• Wife: Julia

• Daughter: Aimee (expecting first child)

• Biggest influence: Father. “He too, listed his profession as textiles and worked for 30-plus years in the carpet industry, retiring as superintendent of tufting with Mohasco Industries. His career in textiles was a rewarding one, providing my mother, two brothers, a sister and myself with a quality of life that made him and our family very proud and happy. It is in these footsteps that I am following.”

• Hobbies, interests: “Julia and I both enjoy the game of golf. And that affliction is nurtured by the close proximity of the course we most often play — Deercroft Golf Club, where the No. 8 fairway and green borders our backyard. When we’re not hunting pars and birdies, we enjoy hunting antiques. On holidays or vacations, we have traveled to many of the outdoor antique markets and shows throughout the Southeast. On weekends, we shop local antique shops and have gottenquite good at recognizing both the age and the quality of a piece, and we do pretty good getting a dealer to sell at a good price.”

• Civic: Member, board of directors, Richmond Community College Foundations; past member, board of directors, and vice president of Industrial Relations, Laurinburg–Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce

Textile News Index

Alabama manufacturer

RadiciSpandex Corp. hosts federal trade representatives

TUSCALOOSA, AL — David Spooner, textile negotiator of the Executive Office of the President, and James Leonard III, deputy assistant secretary for Textiles, Apparel & Consumer Goods Industries in the U.S. Department of Commerce, met recently with executives of RadiciSpandex Corporation, the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority and Area Public Officials at the Radici flagship spandex fiber spinning plant here.

“The visit of the Commerce Department should help spotlight to our representatives in Washington what forward-thinking U.S. manufacturers are doing to compete in the global economy,” said Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum. “There have been a lot of arguments on what role the government should play in international trade when it comes to the manufacturing sector; especially in textiles.

“Certainly the government should be very active in assuring that international trade agreements are fair and enforced,” he added. “It’s good for our officials to see that U.S. manufacturers such as RadiciSpandex are, and have been, indeed doing the right things — leveraging technology, educating their work force and investing wisely to remain competitive. Such companies have taken much of their future into their own hands through lean manufacturing, innovation and agility.”

Dara Longgrear, executive director of Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority, was also on hand with encouraging words for area manufacturers.

“State and local agencies are all working together in conjunction with industry leaders, utility companies and other providers to create and maintain a fertile environment that will foster the development of new businesses and attraction of world-class manufacturers such as RadiciSpandex to our area,” he said. “The success of RadiciSpandex since its groundbreaking in 1994 and its successive expansions have encouraged others to take advantage of this area’s favorable disposition toward high technology, clean, manufacturing type development that brings quality jobs with a future to our area.”

Rob Rebello, CEO of RadiciSpandex noted the challenges facing textile firms and textile fiber manufacturers in particular.

“We’ve been impacted by foreign competition in a big way for the last decade,” he said. “It has forced us to focus on our core competencies, explore overseas sales opportunities to diversify our market exposure and leverage our product and platform technology for growth in areas in which we were both unfamiliar and uncertain. There have been no guarantees of our success. But with steady pursuit of modest goals, product quality, innovation, determination, willingness to change and staying in touch with our markets, we have emerged very confident and optimistic for our future.

“We can’t rest here either — we have to keep changing, keep adapting. We want to encourage and endorse every effort our federal government can take to help our customers with the growing global economic pressures so they too can successfully compete now and into the future.”

The impact of global competition on the domestic textile industry was a back-drop to the visit from Washington that included a tour of the over 180,000 square foot spandex fiber spinning plant, to which RadiciSpandex is presently engineering an additional 15 percent of capacity.

Officials had the opportunity to see how a high-performance raw material for fashion, sportswear and industrial fabrics such as spandex is manufactured using the latest technology in automation. Visitors were also shown new product developments in ultra-fine deniers and new fiber chemistries that will help this U.S. manufacturer stay ahead of their overseas competitors.

“We have focus and scale on our side,” says Bill Girrier, vice president of Marketing and Sales for RadiciSpandex. “We are not bound by such vast production capacities that require us to run and run and run. Therefore, we don’t have to compete only on price. The U.S. industry has been pushed into a very narrow sector in order to survive. We and our customers have to produce innovative quality products, at globally competitive prices, just in time and at low volumes because the easy volume business has all gone to Asia.

“That means that we have had to become some pretty lean, mean and agile ‘specialists,’ in a way,” he added. “We’re building relationships with other like-minded textile companies who are taking control of their destinies. As we survive this global market transition, we will emerge as some very viable competitors in our part of the world — a ‘new order’ of textile manufacturers for the future.”

Textile News Index

SC Senate race

Textile leaders line up to support Tenenbaum

GREENVILLE, SC — U.S. textile leaders met here on August 30 to launch a grassroots campaign to elect Democrat candidate Inez Tenenbaum to the U.S. Senate.

Roger Chastain, president of Mount Vernon Mills, introduces Inez Tenebaum during a press conference launching a grassroots campaign to elect the Democrat candidate to the U.S. Senate, as textile industry leaders look on.

Industry executives gathered with Tenenbaum for a press conference that followed a fund-raising luncheon. Many of the textile representatives said they have broken ranks with the Republican Party to support Tenenbaum, the South Carolina’s secretary of education who is running against Jim DeMint to fill Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings’ seat.

The event, organized by Roger W. Chastain, president of Mount Vernon Mills, attracted about 75 executives from textile mills, fiber producers, cotton merchants, textile machinery manufactures and supply vendors to the Poinsett Club.

“When it comes to trade, America comes in last,” Chastain said. “We need Inez Tenenbaum in Washington. Here’s why: Tenenbaum’s opponent, a ‘free trader,’ is no friend of textile workers. His office released an insulting statement that said, ‘We don’t want to go back to having textile mills in the South. There are good-paying, high-tech jobs we would rather have.

“With that attitude the textile complex cannot expect to be properly represented in Washington. Trade agreements that are supposed to be ‘fair’ and benefit both exporter and importer, have been flagrantly disregarded by foreign countries, especially China.”

The event launched the “Textiles for Inez” campaign to promote Tenenbaum’s candidacy.

During the press conference, Tenenbaum warned that the end of global quotas on textiles and apparel at the end of the year will further cost the industry many more jobs. Tenenbaum, and others in the group, have targeted DeMint for positions the U.S. Congressman has taken on trade, including his support of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

“The ‘free traders’ always like to claim the benefit of ‘lower prices for consumers,’ ” Chastain said in a release issued by the group. “We would change that to say, ‘the high cost of low prices.’

“The war against thieves and unfair traders has decimated many textile towns in our state,” he added. “Markets in our own country, for our own American-made products, have literally been given away at the enormous cost of tens of thousands of textile and apparel jobs. We have lost our right to choose when buying clothing, shoes, toys, tools, electronics and much more. It will take enforcement of the laws to stop the robbers. This is why we believe in Inez Tenenbaum. If there is one word that describes her action, it’s, ‘enforcer.’ “

Throughout Tenenbaum’s nine-point “Action Plan to Stop Unfair Trade,” she stresses enforcement of trading laws, Chastain said.

“She says, ‘before we sign an agreement, show me the economic benefits for America,’ “ he said. “Her position is a breath of fresh air. We need Inez Tenenbaum in Washington to represent the best interests of South Carolina and America.”

Textile News Index

Trade association annual meeting

Manufacture Alabama members to gather for meeting

September 27, 2004

MONTGOMERY, AL — Manufacture Alabama, the state’s trade association representing textile and other manufacturing companies, will hold its annual fall meeting October 7-9 in Point Clear, AL.

A full agenda includes a number of business sessions, legislative and political updates and a group of nationally renowned speakers, with time carved out for various recreational activities for attendees.

The meeting formerly was an annual event staged by the Alabama Textile Manufacturers Association (ATMA). With the merger two years ago of ATMA, the Alabama Chemical Association and the Alabama Industry and Manufacturers Association into Manufacture Alabama, the meeting now has been expanded to include representatives of a wide range of manufacturing industries represented by the new trade organization.

Manufacture Alabama’s Textile Council, comprised of the association’s textile and related member companies, retains a central involvement with the fall meeting in line with the event’s origins in the former textile association.

“Manufacture Alabama is delighted to be able to expand the fall meeting — a grand and very useful tradition — from a specific textile focus to a broad-based manufacturing activity benefiting our member companies across a wide range of industry segments,” said George Clark, Manufacture Alabama president. “In the two years since our merger, we have embarked on a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of Alabama manufacturing companies and saving manufacturing jobs.

“Many of these initiatives involve innovative partnerships with legislative and state agency officials designed to address Alabama’s job-loss crisis in a number of key industries, including textiles,” Clark added. “The fall meeting will focus on these programs and initiatives among other important topics.”

Besides Clark, featured speakers for the three-day meeting include: Michael Reagan, eldest son of the late President Ronald Reagan and host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show; Mike Kolen, financial planner and former Auburn and Miami Dolphin football star who speaks on “Leadership and Strategies;” Jeff Thredgold, an economist who gives an entertaining and informative presentation “Your Money, Your World, Your Family … the Future;” Mike Horsley, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, who will share his recent experiences as a soldier called to active duty in Iraq; U. S. Rep. Jo Bonner, representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District; and Seth Hammett, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives.

The agenda also includes Manufacture Alabama Board of Directors, Textile Council and Chemical Council meetings, as well as meetings of several of the association’s working committees.

Textile News Index

Pickin' Cotton

Market shows little concern over Ivan

September 27, 2004

By Odyll Santos

Hurricane Ivan hit the U.S. Southeast earlier this month, but if there were any concerns about crop losses in the region’s cotton-growing states, they were not reflected in the New York cotton market. Instead, on Sept. 19, the day Ivan made landfall, the market focused on the abundance of cotton in the U.S.

Cotton futures prices that day fell nearly the limit allowed in daily trading. Damage to cotton and other crops in the Southeast may be severe, but the market showed little concern. Cotton marketing specialist O.A. Cleveland noted in comments for the week ended Sept. 17 that prices reflected an oversupply of U.S. cotton.

USDA’s September supply/demand report pegged 2004-05 U.S. production at 20.9 million 480-pound bales, up 4 percent from August and 14 percent from 2003. The latest projection for 2004-05 U.S. ending stocks is 6.1 million bales, up from 5.9 million in August.

“While Ivan and other hurricanes were the talk of most cotton traders the past week, the market actually paid more attention to the excellent growing conditions that returned to the Southwest, and the good to excellent progress of the West and Mid-South crops,” said Cleveland in his weekly comments. “The Southeast crop is suffering from the effects of hurricane damage, but the market says nothing more than, ‘ho-hum,’ and tries to work its way lower.”

Cleveland said the market managed to find support at 47.50 cents per pound, but that level is likely to be breached amid increasing U.S. as well as world cotton supplies.

While futures should find some support at 45 cents and 43 cents per pound, the abundance of cotton worldwide may force the Dec and Mar futures contracts to a test of the 40-cent level.

Members of Congress have certainly kept an eye on the damage done to crops from Hurricane Ivan. Rep. Charles Stenholm (D-TX), the ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture, said legislators have started working on a disaster relief package for farmers in affected states.

The House already passed a disaster relief package for victims of hurricanes Charley and Frances. The U.S. Senate passed its own relief package, which includes a $2.9 billion drought relief measure for western U.S. states.

In a summary of agriculture-related issues dated Sept. 17 and sent electronically to constituents, Stenholm said it was too early to say how much damage was done by Ivan. The hurricane hit Southeastern U.S. states that planted not only cotton, but also peanuts, corn, soybeans, rice, grain sorghum, fruit, vegetables and tobacco.

“Fortunately some folks have already finished picking their cotton, but those farmers with open bolls are going to experience some loss,” Stenholm said.

However, even Stenholm’s remarks acknowledged good conditions in his home state of Texas, which is on track for a record cotton crop. He noted good progress particularly in West Texas.

“In places, it’s been hard to see the difference between irrigated and dry land crops,” he said. “Of course, Texas is the country’s top cotton-producing state, and we’re expected to have our largest production year on record at a possible seven million total bales.”

Good yields expected from the overall Texas crop will contribute to sizable U.S. production. Stenholm pointed out in his comments that the USDA recently projected the average national yield for cotton at 758 pounds per acre, up more than 30 pounds from last year.

Cleveland warned in his comments that New York cotton futures prices will move lower and that “the bearish outlook extends well into the spring of 2005.” He recommended that growers protect themselves from lower prices through the use of options on cotton futures.

Textile News Index


Choppy seas foretell storm of century

September 27, 2004

JUST WHEN YOU thought it was safe to get back in the water — or at least back to the shore for a late-season sojourn — along comes Ivan Jr., the spawn of Hurricane Ivan, to wreak more havoc on Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast, while a twirling dervish named Hurricane Jeanne (at the time of this writing) menaces the East Coast. Indeed, this has been a busy Atlantic hurricane season, thanks to earlier lethal visits by hurricanes Charley and Frances and the ominous calling card left by Tropical Storm Gaston.

If the American populace were to liken the weather season to the U.S. textile industry, it may better grasp the devastation incurred across this once-vibrant manufacturing sector over the last few years. Promises of rules-abiding have blown in from our trading partners, yet low-cost and in many cases illegal imports have continued to flood our borders, leaving in its wake an industry hardly resembling its former self. Strewn across “Textile Country” are a slew of pink slips from Danville to Greenville, idle smokestacks from Kannapolis to Columbus and premature gray hair from Woonsocket to Westpoint.

And, now, we face the prospect of perhaps our most active season of stormy weather next year — with Category 5 Hurricane China set to come ashore at every port of entry. Indeed, damage is expected to be widespread when global textile and apparel quotas are lifted among World Trade Organization partners.

AND AS with a hurricane, you’ve been warned of the impending arrival of these gobs of textile and apparel goods. “Quota watchers,” like hurricane watchers, have flown into the eye of the storm, returning with harbingers of the dangers of a quotaless world for not only the United States, but many other countries.

So for 10 years, you’ve done your best to prepare for that fateful day, Jan. 1, 2005. You’ve boarded up (literally and by force, in some cases); stocked up on essentials such as new machinery, forward-thinking managers and top-notch R&D specialists; and, some of you at least, have even bought “generators” — that is, sought other options (new niches and markets) in case of power outages. Most of you refuse to evacuate, choosing instead to ride out the storm — if there will be an “out” to the storm — come hell or high water. Taking it one step further, several groups of you this summer gathered support of a worldwide coalition to warn “Mother Nature” — in this case the WTO — of the perils of keeping this tempest on its current course, lest she spin out of control. To which the trade governing body, in effect, replied: “Don’t bother us with your problems.”

NOW, WITH quota removal just three months out, you seem to be about as prepared as you’re ever going to be. Can you ever be fully prepared, though? Fortunately, your government is beginning to help you buttress your forts. (It is an election year, after all.) As you know, Grant Aldonas, Commerce undersecretary for international trade, said this month that “threat-based” petitions would be considered by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), clarifying rules surrounding the China textile safeguard mechanism. Aldonas noted that, in some textile and apparel categories where limits have already been removed, “we’ve seen ... surges of 24,000 percent.” That’s the equivalent of a 30-foot storm surge wiping out a whole town.

So, with storm clouds approaching just over the horizon, we know you will continue to draw strength from each other and further reinforce the source of your livelihoods. Whatever unfolds, your future will hardly equate to a day at the beach. But here’s hoping for bluer skies ahead.

Textile News Index