An Appeal To UPSer's From FedEx Drivers

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by MrFedEx, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    In the many years I've worked for FedEx I have never been approached by either a Package Car Driver or Feeder Driver about going union, and I encounter at least 3 or 4 every day. If our people only knew how much better off they would be as Teamsters you'd be amazed at the level of interest, especially now as FedEx turns the screws even tighter and expects more performance for the same lousy money.

    Over the last 10 years we've lost so many of our former benefits that it's hard to keep track, but the final insult came in when Fred (Smith, our "beloved" Fearless Leader) eliminated our traditional retirement plan in favor of a portable pension plan that will save FedEx millions and screw us blind (without lubrication).

    A unionized FedEx would not only benefit UPS by leveling the playing field, but would add substantially to the power of the Teamsters, thereby increasing your negotiating power as well.

    Think about it the next time you encounter a FedEx driver...Thanks!

    BLACKBOX Life is a Highway...

    I dunno...They FEDEX drivers in my area look awfully content the way things are. You want to start a grassroots campaign to organize FEDEX find out from the local Teamsters in your area what they think of your suggestion.
  3. BCFan

    BCFan Active Member

    we already have a plan for DHL (but it seems to be stalled) and I have heard talk of efforts to unionize FedEx.....but the big feather in Hoffa's hat would seem to be UPS Freight , although I hear the numbers will only be about 15 thousand possible new members...with the contract sell out the Company will exchange Card Check for the continued bad and getting worse treatment of the very bread and butter of their workforce...Can we all say SELLOUT!!! But as we all know General President Hoffa is really not concerned with UPS or Teamsters in general..... If you truly want to organize 1st ask (quietly) co-workers if that is something that is feasible 2nd Take the bull by the horns yourself and make calls to your Local Teamsters office and set up a meeting with the Organizing Dept (they would love to talk to you) 3rd CYA if this goes to a vote and y'all lose the company will target you and fellow participants for discharge (happened at a location that I tried to organize in 1978) 4th Be proud that you are Man enough to seize your destiny and attempt to make a positive change for yourself and the friends that are also your co-workers :thumbup: BC (not Big Chicks:thumbdown)
  4. sendagain

    sendagain Member

    I used to mention to FedEx employees that they think about unionizing, but they usually shrugged it off; they seemed pretty content in their jobs, and I think their work load wasn't too bad. I have noticed the difference in pay per hour growing over the years: they used to make about a dollar an hour less than we did but that difference has accelerated. The guys they are really abusing are FedEx Ground. Those guys are really getting screwed. It will continue as long as people accept it and the union is run by guys padding their own pockets and content to maintain the status quo.
  5. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    Well, sorry. Locally, there has been quite an effort to contact FDX drivers. There has been alot of handouts at the local barn by Teamster members willing to talk to them.

    Unfortunately, it has been met with tons of apathy. Most are content with their little piece of the world and don't want to rock the boat. Notice, I said LOCALLY! Don't take this as a blanket statement about all FDX drivers around the world!

    So, since you are already IN the building every day, maybe YOU can do alot of drum beating, if that is the direction you or most of you want to go.
  6. Steward773

    Steward773 Member

    I understand your concern, and I would feel the same way if I was in your situation. Last summer we had a DHL driver contact our union hall with interest to become Teamsters. Our Union brought in organizers from Washington to help our local to try and organize them. To make a long story short ,8 months later they voted in the Teamsters in by 95%.
    The most important thing is to get a bunch of coworkers together that are pro-union and you can TRUST. Get a feel for the rest of the work force and try to talk about the benefits of joining a Union to convince them you will be better off (because you will!). You have to try and keep this pro-union talk "under wraps" though, because if management finds out they will most definetaly begin their anti-Union campaign. When you contact a business agent from the union hall, he will ask you for a list of workers so when the organizers begin their work they have a list of people they can contact. You my friend sound like the key player in Unionizing your barn. Just be patient, and do it smart. The Union will want at least 75% of the workers say that they will vote yes for a Union before they will have a card check, even though you will only need 51% of the vote to win. Start now by building trust and solidarity with your coworkers and it will pay off down the road! Good Luck :thumbup1:.
  7. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    The problem with stepping forward at FedEx is that you will be immediately targeted for termination at the earliest possible opportunity. All the years of anti-union foment by management has paid-off handsomely because everybody is afraid for their jobs. When the Teamsters pushed for FedEx Express unionization back in the mid-90's they left a lot of FedEx supporters hanging when Mr Smith successfully lobbied to keep FedEx under the RLA. In short, the union disappeared from the scene almost immediately, and those that did speak-out paid for it dearly.

    A lot of FedEx couriers are literally afraid to discuss unions openly, even on the street. Who knows who is watching, and those who supported the Teamsters back in the 90's were frequently followed by management and/or set-up by co-workers who caved-in to management pressure or cut deals that made their lives easier.

    I wasn't born under a rock, and I have been a Teamster before. I know that their main concern is building dues through more members and you only see your rep either at contract time or when there is an election. But the way it stands at FedEx now, the Teamsters are a better choice than having absolutely ZERO ability to prevent management excesses and low wages relative to the competition.
  8. Coldworld

    Coldworld Well-Known Member

    It has been easier with dhl because most of the metro cities are teamsters back when they were airborne. Isnt there something saying that fedex air has to be organized as a "whole", while fedex ground can be done barn by barn...please correct me if im wrong. There are 2 or 3 fedex ground centers that are fighting this battle now. fedex keeps on loosing in court, but there still isnt any solid info if they have actually became teamsters. The comment about if fedex became union, then the playing field would become level is very interesting. Fedex would be hurt by this, especially if it was company wide and ups would fully use this to their advantage and fedex would for sure loose volume. I think having fedex on the other end of the teeter totter has helped this company realize that theres more to our business than ground packages.
  9. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    FedEx Express is classified under the Railroad Labor Act (RLA) which means the entire company must be organized as a regional or local unions. The Democrats tried to get FedEx to be re-classified under the NLRA (like UPS) back in the mid-90's, but Fred Smith successfully stifled it by using his money and influence on politicians in his pocket.

    When the Democrats take power in 2008, things may improve, but when the bid to change things failed in the 90's, the Teamsters just bailed out. Now they're knocking at the door again, but the people who were left hanging before are a bit gun-shy now about stepping up and starting the organizing process. That's why a movement from within FedEx probably won't work....workers are legitimately afraid of being fired or harassed by management. Teamster reps need to start showing up outside FedEx facilities and get drivers who are already union to start talking it up on the street. Unless you've worked for them, you have no idea of the amount of intimidation FedEx management can dish-up when they have no fear of consequences. Sure, you can try and sue against their phalanx of lawyers, and maybe you'll eventually win. But in the meantime, you're also out of a job.
  10. farmerbrown

    farmerbrown New Member

    I tallk to FEDEX ground and express drivers everyday. I too have been shrugged off when mentioning the need to organize. In local 483 the DHL guys have organized and things got better. For them it was mainly about respect. FEDEX guys that have left UPS in my area say that they are treated better and that makes up for the $6.00 + that I make. Your biggest problem is hiring the ex UPS managers especially after the UPS manager buyout in the mid nineties. When things finally get bad enough, you too will seek out the Union in great enough numbers to make a difference. The arrogance of our management people assures that we keep paying our union dues. The $18.00 a week that I pay is a bargain (six Caramel Machiatto Venti's a month from starbucks). Good luck and keep talking to other FEDEX drivers. You Rock!!!
  11. the RLA is exactly the problem.
    The short version is that several issues need to be resolved. With the merger of FedEx and RPS (FedEx Ground), plus Home Delivery, you have several entities that can be a significant roadblock to unionization.
    One Scenario:
    Teamsters spend $$$ organizing at FedEx and amass enough to schedule an election. FedEx ends the separation of FedEx Ground and brings everything under one roof. Teamsters start at square one. $$$ wasted.

    It's very expensive and difficult to organize under the RLA.

    The Teamsters are coming, it's only a matter of time. Right now it's through the backdoor at FedEx Ground trying to decide the contractor issue once and for all. That may be the best way to get to FedEx Express. In the past the AFL/CIO hasn't spent as much time and money as they should on organizing, preferring to spend it on lobbying. I believe the move to Change to Win will have a major effect on unionization in general and hopefully FedEx will be a significant part of that.
  12. quadro

    quadro New Member

    I don't care one way or another if you support or oppose unions, however, I do care when you misrepresent facts. You might want to check out the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and what it modified about ERISA. FedEx switching pension plans wasn't about saving FedEx millions. Had FedEx not switched, it would have cost billions to fund the pension plan. Their plan is already well funded but the change in the law would have pretty much put FedEx out of business if they had stayed with the original plan. And if you still believe switching was a bad thing, the same law convinced UPS to pull out of the Central States fund by paying about $6billion. If UPS thought it was worth $6billion to pull out, then that should tell you something about the new law. Also, the new plan at FedEx won't "screw us blind". A lot of people are now getting a second pension at FedEx in addition to their original pension.

    If I worked for FedEx, whether I supported unions or not, why would I want to "level the playing field"? I wouldn't want to help my competition. If I thought voting for a union would help UPS, that's the last reason I would vote for it. What good would it do me to vote for a union that ends up helping my competitor and making life more difficult for me?
  13. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    It's clear that "Quadro" doesn't really understand the situation at FedEx, and that his retirement info is just plain wrong. If the new laws governing pensions would "bankrupt" Fedex, how are other prosperous companies continuing to fund their traditional pension plans? I don't see UPS threatening to go out of business unless their employee retirement plans are eliminated.The bottom line is that FedEx took full advantage of the changes in order to reduce the corporation's pension liability and then shifted the bulk of responsibility for funding the new Portable Pension Plan to the employee. Whether you like it or not, FedEx will force you to contribute at least 3% of your pay into the 401k plan. FedEx will also make a contribution, but this new plan is essentially employee-funded, NOT Fedex funded. Just another take-away from a long list of them.

    If you did work for FedEx, you would understand this is just one facet of a multi-year plan to de-content the compensation package for hourly employees and pad profits. In a way, I applaud their audacity, because it is finally starting to backfire on them as hourlies and managers leave in droves. Once you start stripping-out the quality of a product or service, you eventually get what you pay this case, unmotivated employees who give poor service to customers and have lousy productivity. All of the recent lawsuits are just the tip of the iceberg as people finally get fed-up with all of the BS and abuse that has been heaped upon them over the last few years. When you don't have representaion, you turn to attorneys, who are starting to smell blood in the water.
  14. GuyinBrown

    GuyinBrown Blah

    I read an article a few weeks ago that implied there was a very good chance the bill would pass that would move FedEx from the RLA jurisdiction to the NLRB. Should that happen, would suspect that it won't be long before you see an aggressive organization effort by the Teamsters. As it stands, the RLA is too restrictive and the time and money required to organize are essentially wasted with such a slim chance for success.
  15. quadro

    quadro New Member

    I'm not going to debate with you about whether I'm right or wrong. I presented you facts which you choose to ignore. Before you tell me I'm wrong, how about doing some research? Explain to me, how, under the new law, FedEx could afford to put $1.6Billion into the pension plan this year versus about $200mm under the old law? FedEx didn't make that much money (earnings, not revenue). And other prosperous companies can't continue to fund their traditional plans. Here's just one article from almost two years ago Just Google Traditional Pension Plan and there's plenty of info. When other companies were switching to 401K's, FedEx kept its traditional plan until such a time that it simply couldn't afford to do it. And rather than switching to a 401K, FedEx has a pension plan AND a 401K.
    I never said that FedEx was threatening to go out of business. Quite the opposite. FedEx did what it needed to do to still provide a benefit without a huge financial risk to the future of the company. Additionally, as I already told you, UPS essentially did the same thing. Why do you think they coughed up over $6Billion to get out of the Central States Fund and the Teamsters didn't bat an eye?
    It wasn't that they took full advantage of the changes, if they hadn't switched, they wouldn't have been able to fund the traditional plan as required by law. How is that fiscally and ethically responsible to the employees?
    Now it appears that it is you who doesn't really understand the situation at FedEx. That's OK. All I'm saying is that you should take the time to do some research and fully understand how it works. Only then can you make an educated and informed decision. FedEx isn't going to force you to contribute anything. Statistics show that a lot of people don't have enough saved for retirement and when offered a savings vehicle such as a 401K, they don't enroll. To help people make that decision, a lot (most?) companies are now doing autoenrollment. That is what FedEx is doing. If you don't want to do it, you can opt out. There's no forcing involved. If I'm not mistaken, most 401K's, by design, are employee funded. Also, the change to the 401K at FedEx actually improves the plan, not take away from it. If you put 6% of your salary into the 401K, FedEx will match 3.5% of your salary and put it in there. That's 3.5% of your pretax salary. And that's in addition to the money they put in the portable pension plan. Most companies have one or the other but not both.
    We'll have to agree to disagree on this last part. FedEx isn't perfect, but which company is? However, lawyers look at any big company as potentially big payouts if they can convince employees that they've been wronged. Not that some people don't have legitimate lawsuits, it's just not quite the way you are seeing it.

    Do some research and educate yourself before you make a decision. Just remember to be careful what you ask for as you just might get it. Don't like the 401K and pension plan? No sweat. As soon as you are represented it is off the table anyway, as is everything else. You will need to negotiate it all back and you can bet that it won't all come back.

    I hope you get what you want. I just hate to see you get what you think you need.
  16. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    Quadro, do you actually work for FedEx or are you an expert student of retirement plans? That isn't meant as an insult, but unless you actually work for the company, you wouldnt really understand the degree to which the company has de-contented jobs in search of ever bigger profits. Unless you're a pilot, you've seen so many take-aways that it would make your head spin. If FedEx had not already stripped-out so many benefits perhaps the new plan wouldn't be such a bitter pill to swallow.

    However you look at it, FedEx HAS managed to shift much of the responsibility for it's retirement plan onto employees. The original plan wasn't great, with approximately half the benefits that a UPS driver would receive. That's gone, and the amount that FedEx contributes to the new plan is a joke. Yes, anyone would be crazy not to max out their 401k (I have over $500,000 in my account), but that's not the point. FedEx did take full advantage here, as any corporation that has a stranglehold over it's employees would do. They have never been very generous, except to the higher officers of the corporation. The new retirement laws were a God-send to Fedex, and Fred Smith is probably toasting all of his friends in Congress today for their years of generosity to him. There are probably 3 or 4 of them over at his mansion for Thanksgiving(can you say James Baker?). Maybe you don't know about all of the excecutive jets that Fred makes available to politicians (the passenger FedEx airline), or the PAC that is second only to UPS in the amount spent on lobbying for favorable legislation.

    Only employees hired before 2004 will get any kind of second retirement, which isn't very good in the first place. Those employees convert over to the new plan on June 1st, the start of the new FedEx fiscal year. If you already have 25 years of service and were maxed-out under the old plan the new plan could be a good deal for you. For newer employees, however, it's a disaster.

    Like Big Brown, FedEx has plenty of cash reserves, and could have afforded to do better by it's employees. The company has always been very profitable with the exception of it's start-up years, and it's become even more profitable since aquiring the Ground, Freight, and LTL divisions.

    A lot of people think that all the good press FedEx receives makes it a good company to work for. Unfortunately, that's a myth, and workers really need representation in order to have some ability to fight back. As it stands now, management does pretty much whatever it wants and unless you're the member of a protected class, you don't have much of a defense mechanism to protect your interests. I'm no great fan of unions, but sometimes they're needed.
  17. quadro

    quadro New Member

    I have worked for FedEx for 20+ years and am very familiar with the old plan, the new plan, and to some extent why the law was changed. I'm not an executive, just one of the employees. I have been able to provide a very comfortable life for my family thanks to my job.

    Would I like more pay and benefits? I challenge you to show me someone who doesn't. But it's not just about the bottom line. Could I get a better paying job with better overall benefits? Maybe, maybe not. Also, most companies don't have a pension plan and a 401K. It's one or the other. In those situations, either one might be better than the one FedEx offers, but the two combined are better. Most companies are shifting more and more of the burden to save on to the employee. It's not specific to FedEx. Just do some research and you'll see the number of traditional plans are getting less and less. Companies simply cannot afford to fund those plans in today's market. Especially with the new law. Does that make it right, wrong, good, bad? Depends on your perspective and your personal situation.

    To say that FedEx has a stranglehold over its employees is ridiculous. Everyone is free to leave and get that better paying job. Contrary to your experience, I don't see people leaving in droves.

    You want FedEx to be like UPS but you chastise them for doing the same thing that UPS does with PAC contributions???? Not sure I follow your logic there.

    There are a lot of employees who are in the position to get a second pension as they've been employed 20+ years. For those just getting hired, they're not losing much if they go work at a better company.

    I think you need to check both companies financial statements if you believe that FedEx has large cash reserves like UPS. You do realize that FedEx is making about 8 - 9 cents on the dollar? If that's more profitable since adding freight, ground, etc (which it is) then it's probably lucky that executive management had the foresight to acquire those companies. I'd hate to think where we'd be if 8 - 9 cents is better than it would have been.

    If you believe that FedEx employees would be better off with a union, I'm simply encouraging you to look at everything, get the facts, and remember that everything is negotiated. You could very easily end up with less than you have now. I hope you get satisfaction in whatever you do, just be informed.
  18. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    Quadro, do you realize that 8 or 9 cents on the dollar is an excellent profit margin in the transportation industry? Trucking companies are lucky if they make a 2 percent profit. When you take volumes into account, it adds up to big bucks. And no, FedEx doesn't have the cash reserves of UPS, but relative to most companies they are very deep in the pockets. You've obviously bought into the a sheep if you like.

    I'm glad you're happy at FedEx, and perhaps you live in a part of the country where decent homes don't cost $650,000. For people who live in certain parts of the Mid-South or South, being a FedEx driver can be a good deal. In most of the country, however, the fact that wages and benefits are significantly less than at UPS present a real problem. We do essentially the same job for a lot less money, and our compensation package hasn't even come close to keeping up with the cost of living. The net result is that we work harder for less with each passing year.

    Other than the passenger airlines, I don't see a wholesale elimination of traditional pension plans. Like I said before, for someone who is already maxed-out on their FedEx retirement benefit, they won't be hurt that badly by the new PPP. It still doesn't change the fact that the original plan was poor, and the new one even stingier.

    In the area of the country I live in, employees ARE leaving FedEx in large numbers, and the company is having trouble finding replacements. Some of the local stations are 10 routes short on both the AM and PM, with lots of doubling-up of routes, managers on the road, and major service failures and angry customers. Doesn't really sound like the Purple Promise is being fulfilled, does it? Even if it were, the payout for excellence is a joke. UPS and DHL will happily take care of the disgruntled shippers.

    Like I said, if you live in East Bicycle Seat, Arkansas, FedEx might be a great deal, especially when compared to going to work at a Wal-Mart or the local poultry processor. But in big-time metropolitan areas with real jobs, it doesn't match up well. Sure, I'm free to leave, but I went to work for FedEx when the company still had a commitment to compensate it's workers fairly, and I'm probably too old to start a new career. If I were 20-something, I'd be long gone, just as the new hires now are disappearing after their first month. It takes forever to top out, the starting pay isn't great, and the new lousy retirement plan is a big zero.

    As long as FedEx management remains predatory, employees DO need a union. You can be happy with mediocrity, or you can stand-up and fight for a better deal. Sheeple get trampled, and you sound like exactly the kind of laydown and die employee that FedEx likes. Go on believing you're getting a fair shake and swallow the company line.
  19. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Relative to most companies, FedEx also has much, much higher capital and labor expenditures. And when logic fails, you result to name calling???

    Decent homes where I live cost $650,000 and that's higher than most of the country. How do people in other entry level positions make ends meet? How does the wage and benefit package at FedEx compare to most (not just one, i.e. UPS) companies for their entry level workers? I'm not saying it is good or bad, I'm just saying you should be asking yourself these questions and doing some research.

    If you don't see a wholesale elimination, then that somewhat confirms my suspicion that you're lacking in your research. Here's a quote from the New York Times:
    Now, with the recent announcements of pension freezes by some of the cream of corporate America - Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Motorola and, just last week, I.B.M. - the bell is tolling even louder. Even strong, stable companies with the means to operate a pension plan are facing longer worker lifespans, looming regulatory and accounting changes and, most important, heightened global competition. Some are deciding they either cannot, or will not, keep making the decades-long promises that a pension plan involves.
    But please don't take my word for it. I'm not here to tell you that you are right or wrong, I'm just encouraging you to be fully informed.

    Fair enough. However, if lack of pay = disgruntled employee = bad service, how will a customer be happy with DHL? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure their drivers don't make as much as FedEx's.

    So all things considered for you, it's still the best deal going otherwise you'd leave? And who cares how long it takes to top out? If top out pay was one cent more than your making now and you got that raise tomorrow would you be happy? Didn't think so. But you would be topped out.

    Again with the insults. Look, if you can't find credible evidence to show how I'd be better off, that's ok. As I've stated, for me things are a good deal. I would like to be paid more, who wouldn't? I've asked you to research the items that I feel you are mistaken about. I've asked you to be informed so that you can make an educated, not emotional decision. You accuse me of being a "sheeple", when you are doing exactly that and following those who believe unionizing would improve things but you've got some of your facts wrong.
    As I've said, if you feel that a union would help you, more power to you. I'm not going to insult you because you see things differently from me. Just be informed and remember, the moment you get a union, you start with nothing. Are you sure that they can negotiate a better overall environment for you? Without research and facts, you won't know. Be careful what you wish for as you just might get it.
  20. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    You'll have to admit that there are a lot of FedEx people that are "sheeple", and don't stand-up for their rights. Memphis pretty much makes dictates as it pleases, and we're just supposed to go along with it. How do you feel about going backwards every year in terms of your pay relative to the cost of living?

    The one group of employees who have been smart are the pilots. They initially agreed to an in-house union, which they rapidly realized wasn't going to work. Then they joined ALPA, which has done an excellent job of standing-up for their rights. Although upper management tries to play games wth them, the pilots can shut the company down if they don't get a fair deal. Their most recent contract was excellent.....wouldn't you like the opportunity to negotiate a better deal for you and your family? Or are you happy with the meager raises that are metered out every once in awhile that bring us to where we should have been 5 years ago?

    Where I work, overtime has basically been eliminated, which was the one area where you could try and make-up the difference. You say you've been around 20+ years....remember jumpseat, profit-sharing, no mandatory split-shifts? Jeez, at one station I worked at, the management would require 3 hour splits when volumes were down, or try and send you home early after about 4 hours on the clock. And I'm not talking post or pre-holiday periods either. I refused to take splits or go home early and was threatened each time. Since when is it our responsibility to take extra-long breaks just so productivity looks good and FedEx can save money? These are just a few examples of the way management takes full advantage of our inability to fight back. Oh yeah, we have PSP, Open Door, and GFT, all of which are a joke unless you're the member of a protected class. A union would provide a legitimate grievance process. Sure, it wouldn't be perfect, but it would be better than what we have now. And whatever retirement plan was negotiated would be better than what we have now too.

    Like I said, if I were younger I'd leave, and I should have seen the writing on the wall. That's on me, but it doesn't mean I'm going to sit back and keep on being abused. Talk to your peers and see how they feel about the direction the company has taken. Cutting costs to the bone isn't always smart, and de-contenting the Express division is starting to bear some bitter fruit. We have freight that misses the plane almost every day because the new breed of employee doesn't have the skills to get the job done or is so overloaded they can't get it done. No wonder we're losing market share to the competition in the overnight market.

    FedEx used to be a quality company that you could be proud to work for. Now it's just a job.