Trucking’s largest national trade association is going to lop off a significant portion of its activities, downsizing to fit members’ demands for lower dues.
Dues cuts for trucking company members of 51% over three years will cut $7 million from ATA’s budget, said president Walter B. McCormick in remarks to the ATA Executive Committee last weekend. The cuts will not apply to supplier members of ATA, whose dues were increased this year.
To keep the books in balance, ATA will eliminate or scale back a host of activities not directly connected to industry advocacy in Washington, DC.
The association is looking to move out of its Alexandria, VA, headquarters to smaller quarters, perhaps on property it owns on Capitol Hill, McCormick said. Further, ATA will cut back its annual meeting schedule from three to two, and will try to hold its council and conference events in conjunction with those meetings.
The councils, which provide educational and networking services to ATA members, will be consolidated and trimmed to focus on advocacy, he said.
ATA will no longer provide educational seminars, and will spin off its training programs.
Well-known programs such as America’s Road Team and the national advertising campaign will have to be funded from sources other than ATA dues. “It is our hope that committed members of the trucking community will step up to the plate to support them,” McCormick said.
The ATA Litigation Center will focus on issues of national consequence, taking on state and local suits only when members pay for those cases.
The ATA Foundation will be scaled back to a “limited . . . professional team” with a smaller board that focuses on setting research priorities and seeking funding.
ATA will continue to support state trucking associations, but at a lower level than it has been in the past. Any additional support will have to come from the state associations, carriers and suppliers, McCormick said.
ATA’s intent with these cutbacks is to focus on advocacy. “This budget plan completes ATA’s evolution into a Washington lobbying powerhouse,” McCormick said in a press release. “We are building a lean advocacy machine with a strong presence before the Congress, the courts, the regulatory agencies and the news media. It all comes down to focus.”
Under McCormick’s plan, dues will be cut 10% this year – to be taken as a credit against next year’s dues. An additional 10% cut is slated for 2002, provided ATA’s planning assumptions hold. The 51% total cut is a compounded figure based on these cuts plus the 25% cut in combined dues provided in 1999, McCormick said.