Meeting Continues Saturday Morning with Division Reports
Glass Association of North America (GANA) lawyer Kim Mann captured
his audience's attention right away at the Glass Week session on
Saturday morning. Mann was addressing the recent filing of price-fixing
lawsuits against a number of primary manufacturers. He did so during
the first in a series of reports from different divisions of the
association. Mann handled the legal updates.
"There are seven such lawsuits that I am aware of," said Mann,
"and a good number more are expected. They target the primary glass
manufacturers." Mann spoke to an audience that had his undivided
attention. He added that the glass industry, by its very nature,
has caught the attention of class action suit lawyers.
He cited the small number of primary manufacturers as the main
reason for the legal focus. "It's easy to allege price-fixing in
an industry of few players. It's harder to do in industries with
more players," he said.
Mann believes two main events led to the filing of these lawsuits.
The first was the implementation of fines by the European Union
(EU) against four major primary manufacturers for alleged price
fixing in Europe. (CLICK
HERE for related story.) The second was the success of lawsuits
in the trucking industry in Europe that became a precursor for a
number of other price-fixing lawsuits.
Mann reminded the group that GANA always has had a strong anti-trust
policy. "Trade associations are where competitors gather and it's
important to avoid any kinds of appearance of discussion of pricing,
warranties and surcharges. Surcharges are the hot topic today,"
he said. "Primaries are not the only ones who assess surcharges.
Many do. I am not suggesting they are illegal, but you must be careful
in how they are created."
Mann also believes additional fines will be assessed by the EU
regarding alleged auto glass price-fixing and that those fines "may
be five, six even seven times higher than those for flat glass."
Incoming GANA president Brad Austin of Viracon then gave the report
for the insulating glass division. "We continue to grow and are
strong," he said, providing an overview of the information that
had been presented in the insulating division meeting the day before.
Cliff Monroe of Arch Aluminum gave the tempering division report.
The group is developing a video about tempering along with other
ways to help the uninitiated understand what tempering is. Monroe
reported that those at the division meeting had turned their attention
to the issues raised by the International Window Cleaners Association
HERE for related story.)
"We've decided our best strategy is to take the high road with
the IWCA. That is the best way to move forward," Monroe said. He
added that the division is working on a static-cling "No Scrapers"
decal that could be applied either in manufacturing or in the field.
He also discussed an ASTM optical standard that his division is
reviewing. The manual on which the group had been working is almost
ready for publication with only 15 items left to complete.
Kris Vockler of ICD always has a smile on when she reports on her
division's activities. That's because Vockler, who chairs the Decorating
Division, gets to discuss the association's fastest growing division.
A survey of division members currently is underway to determine
member needs and possible programs and services. The division also
has launched a member projects showcase available in the members-only
area on the GANA websites. (CLICK
HERE for related story.)
The activities of the laminating division were recounted by its
chair, John Bush of Oldcastle. The group is working on content development
for an AIA presentation and a downloadable video about how laminated
glass can be used. The division has seven task groups working in
The association's technical director Greg Carney then reported
on the activities of his department. He introduced Urmilla Sowell
as the new assistant technical director. Carney, who is involved
in a staggering number of projects for GANA, gave an overview of
a few those efforts. He mentioned that the Flat Glass Manufacturing
Division is in the process of completing a Glass Information Bulletin
about the weight of glass and the Mirror Division recently completed
a bulletin about the proper fabrication of mirror and is updating
the ASTM standard related to silvering of mirrors.
Carney also mentioned that he had, for the first time, prepared
a complete summary of all the technical projects upon which his
department had worked this past year. "I did a technical report
for the year and it was 424 pages," said Carney, joking. He said
that, luckily, it was able to be summarized in 12 pages and is now
available in the members-only area of the GANA website.
The upcoming International Code Council (ICC) meeting also was
discussed. Carney said that Mann was on his way there (after his
presentation at Glass Week) to represent the interests of the association
to provide advocacy for a proposal that would allow AAMA 507 to
be recognized as alternative by the code group. "No one should have
a monopoly when it comes to product certification," he said. "The
proposal is expected to be heard today [Monday]."
He then discussed what many believe to be the single, biggest problem
area in glass industry: the lack of NFRC responsiveness. "You have
heard me rant and rave and occasionally cuss about NFRC. You've
also heard me be the voice for our industry at NFRC," Carney said.
He added that he and IGMA executive Margaret Webb were considering
not responding to votes because of the role of the NFRC board in
overruling the committee. "Once they [proposals the NFRC group works
on] go to the NFRC board they come back very different than what
was agreed to by the committee. It's very frustrating," he said.
Andy Gum detailed the efforts of the Building Envelope Contractors
(BEC) Division. Gum said energy would be an emphasis in the future.
BEC is the association's largest division with 139 members - 16
new members in this past year alone. He mentioned how the BEC Conference
has become a who's who of the glazing industry. It's really an exciting
time. Gum promised attendees will be blown away by what they see
at the BEC.
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