Purchasing a Labor Exemption

Discussion in 'FedEx Discussions' started by MrFedEx, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    "FedEx is not anti-union in any way". Unbelievably, that's a direct quote from Frederick W. Smith, and he's used the same phrase many times. I have little doubt that it was carefully crafted by FedEx Legal in order to deflect any questions about the legality of some of Smith's actions.

    Is it legal to purchase a labor exemption for your company? Apparently so, at least so far, because that's exactly what Smith did back in 1996 when the RLA language in the FAA Reauthorizarion Bill was going to be changed. By throwing massive amounts of money at Congress, the existing FedEx RLA exemption was retained in a last-minute sneak play that has been called one of the biggest scams in US history.

    14 years later, Smith is doing exactly the same thing all over again. The question is, will he get away with it this time, and is it legal to so obviously bribe members of Congress?
    President Obama tipped his hand a few months ago when he said he admired Smith as a CEO. This is disturbing, especially from a President who is supposedly pro-labor. How much money has Smith been able to funnel toward Democratic leaders who are supposed to be against his anti-labor agenda? All of this reeks of Bill Clinton's special one-on-one meeting with Mr Smith shortly before the 1996 decision. Mr Clinton also proved he could be bought and that he was no friend of labor. Thanks, Bill!!

    If Smith retains his special deal, these Democrats need to be called-out for being political whores and kicked-out of office. This includes Mr Obama, who knows better than to associate himself with someone like Smith. How much money was promised during that conversation, and why was it timed to coincide with the RLA controversy? As late as 2008, Smith was one of the top fund raisers for the McCain campaign, and was even mentioned as a possible Cabinet member in a McCain adminstration. Why should money talk so much louder than equity in a supposedly democratic system that is anything but? Fred Smith is a criminal, and so are the politicians who allow scum like him to prosper in our corrupt political system.
     
  2. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Care to provide a credible source or is it just your opinion that it was a sneak play that has been called one of the biggest scams in US history?

    Is it legal? Hang on while I check with Oberstar and I'll get back to you.
     
  3. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    Many have called it a "sneak play" because it was.Google the "FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996" and take a look at Ted Kennedy's comments, among others, including Oberstar. Google Clinton's meeting with Smith while you're at it. Bill didn't do FedEx employees any favors. In fact, it looks like we were thrown under the bus by someone who probably fell on what little was left of his ethical sword. Cash talks.The language allowing Smith to keep his exemption was inserted at the last minute and quickly voted-on without further debate. It's no secret Smith was writing lots of checks.

    Is it legal? Probably so under our current system that lets those with the most money make the rules of the game. That's morally and ethically wrong. Oberstar doesn't much care for Fred. If anyone is going to re-insert the language Fred doesn't want to see, it will probably be him.

    President Obama really insulted labor by even meeting with Smith. He made it worse by praising Smith as a CEO. That's kind of like someone who is supposed to be pro-Israeli praising the Iranians, isn't it?
     
  4. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Sorry, I should have been clearer. A credible, independent source. Of course Kennedy and Oberstar would make it sound like the worst thing in the world.

    My point was that you chastise Fred for throwing money at Congress but say absolutely nothing about UPS doing exactly the same thing.
     
  5. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    UPS does do the exact same thing. The big difference is that they didn't get the big break Fred did. I suppose a credible independent source would be a good Republican? Why not level the playing field? If UPS successfully lobbied to also be classified under the RLA I'd have to shut my mouth, but that isn't going to happen. It's unfair that Fred's money can buy him the ability to deny his workers basic rights. If 100% of the employees in 49 states wanted a union, but 1 state did not, FedEx workers could not vote in a union under the RLA. And FedEx says we can already unionize at any time if we wish. Sure.
     
  6. quadro

    quadro New Member

    UPS certainly wanted to be classified under the RLA and tried hard to make it happen. I believe the problem was that they had previously defended their status under NLRA and got shot down when trying to then change their mind.

    So it's unfair that Fred's money can buy him something but not unfair that UPS's money can buy them something?

    Under RLA, you have to have 50% + 1 of the eligible employees vote for a union or conversely, you have to have 50% of the employees vote against. In your example if 1 state has 50% of the employees, that's one mighty big state.
     
  7. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    The bottom line is that a RLA classification makes unionization realistically impossible. UPS had a problem because they were originally classified as a ground carrier. Anti-union Smith had it figured from the start, intentionally getting FedEx classified as an airline so he could keep the unions out. Over time, however, both companies have evolved into essentially the same animal. While FedEx may have mainly be considered an airline when it was founded in 1971, over time it has become a systems integrator, just like UPS. Both companies perform essentially the same tasks in an almost exact manner. FedEx is no longer an "express carrier" with a handful of Falcon jets and a couple hundred trucks. It has many thousands of vehicles in comparison to a relatively small number of jets and it is clearly a delivery company at heart...not an airline.

    So, Professor FedEx says we have a case of "Delivery Darwinism" at work here, and FedEx no longer deserves it's exemption. Like the dinosaur, the original Federal Express and it's underlying concepts are dead and gone. FedEx is a completely different animal, unrelated to the original with the exception of it's derivative name. It has numerous divisions, moves much of it's volume via truck, and is barely related to the original, much like UPS, which bears a scant resemblance to the tiny messenger service founded by Jim Casey in Seattle long ago.

    The case for a continued RLA exemption clause is very weak at best, and the only way Fred Smith is able to preserve the lie is to purchase his special labor exemption outright from our corrupt political "leaders". Admit it, he's paying-off politicians to keep us underpaid. This preserves a competitive advantage which is both ethically and legally wrong. It needs to be stopped...NOW.
     
  8. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    A. Ethics judgements vary from individual to individual.
    B. It is not illegal until congress and/or the courts say so.
     
  9. quadro

    quadro New Member

    FedEx may be a systems integrator but unlike UPS, Express does not have the ground network (i.e. number of trucks, railroad network, etc) that UPS has. Like it or not, UPS does move a much higher percentage of their packages via that network.

    The RLA's intent is to avoid disruption to interstate commerce with respect to railroads and airlines. Given the percentage of packages that FedEx moves via air compared to UPS, there is a big difference between the two. While a FedEx courier and a UPS driver may do essentially the same job, the method by which the majority of their packages are transported to their terminals is substantially different. Having said that, I think localized strikes by UPS terminals would likely be as damaging as localized strikes by Express locations and consequently, I don't see why UPS isn't covered under the RLA.

    And really, how is a competitive advantage? Because FedEx's hands aren't tied by union rules? Because FedEx is bigger and makes more money than UPS? Oh that's right, they aren't and they don't. UPS doesn't care about FedEx employees and the unions being a business themselves are certainly interested in the $$$ more than the employees. The moment I see Coke worrying about Pepsi employees I'll believe that UPS has my best interest at heart.
     
  10. vantexan

    vantexan Well-Known Member

    Because local strikes could stop the entire railroad system it was deemed vital to the nation's security to require a national union as defined by the RLA. Railroads were the primary transportation and shipping option of their time. However if you had local strikes at FedEx stations customers have other options to ship their freight. The only real trauma caused by a strike is the hit in the pocketbook of FedEx. And really now, while the union might be voted in locally, a strike will be national in scope, not a bunch of local wildcat strikes. Certainly has been the case at UPS. This whole argument is disingenuous.
     
  11. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    WRONG, on so many counts. If Coke employees were union and Pepsi employees were not because of a "soda distributor exemption" Coca-Cola would be all over the issue because Pepsi would have a substantial (illegal) advantage. Let's say the CEO of Pepsi is "Mr Jones". Jones has lots of money, which he freely throws to politicians willing to do his bidding and give him a special Pepsi exemption that effectively prevents employees from unionizing. Sound familiar? Coke, which incorporated first, was classified as a "bottler", but Pepsi, which came along 40 years later is a "distributor", and distributors have to unionize nationally and cannot do so locally. Coke is stuck with it's original classification, even though over time it's business has become essentially identical to that of Pepsi.

    You amaze me. Under a union, you'd likely see a substantial raise and also a much more generous retirement plan, yet you persist in thinking Fred is doing right by you. News flash!! He doesn't give a rat's behind about you, your family, or anything else but profit. Anyway, read on...

    Let's compare apples to apples. UPS air and FedEx air move by identical means. Why should FedEx get an special exemption for doing the exact same thing via the exact same method? Also, if you'd like to consider both corporations as a whole, FedEx moves it's Ground freight the same way UPS does, just as FedEx Freight does in comparison to UPS Freight. Shouldn't Ground, Freight and LTL also be under the RLA? Ground copied the UPS feeder and rail network almost exactly. Hey, they get a special deal too, don't they? I guess Fred must be spreading a lot of that green "magic" around, huh? Oh, sorry, he's really a "brilliant visionary". BS!!!
     
  12. quadro

    quadro New Member

    And the truth comes out. Coke would be all over the issue because of the risk to its profits not because it is so concerned about Pepsi's employees.

    Likely being the operative word. Also likely to see substantial changes in work rules, benefits, etc, and not necessarily for the better. And Carey doesn't give a rat's behind about me either, just my money.
     
  13. quadro

    quadro New Member

    You mean other than the trauma to all the employees getting $55/week from the strike fund? And you think a national strike would be less damaging than a local one?
     
  14. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    It's always about the money, isn't it? And yes, I'd like my fair share of what I produce in profits for FedEx. That's capitalism at work. Almost any change to our work rules and benefits would be positive. As it stands, our benefits stink, especially our retirement plan, and P&P ensures that the company nearly always comes-out on top of the employee. "Substantial changes" would be a wonderful thing.
     
  15. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Why would it be about anything but the money?
     
  16. vantexan

    vantexan Well-Known Member

    Valid points, but the argument for RLA status has always been to avoid crippling the whole system with local wildcat strikes. A national strike doesn't come out of the blue, can be anticipated based on negotiations. Again, while we will vote for/against the union locally, strikes are national in scope. And again, we aren't the dominant transportation system the railroads were in the late 1800's. The only reason the RLA designation was sought for by FedEx was to keep a union out. By the way, RLA or not, FedEx has had every opportunity to pay us better but instead they have taken every opportunity to restrict pay. And what could possibly stand in the way of them continuing to do so? Hmmm...
     
  17. Just Numbers

    Just Numbers Retired

    Since you mentioned railroads and the RLA did you realize that UPS is the largest user of railroad trailer on flat car (TOFC) and has been for many years.
     
  18. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    We received two checks of $55 and then had two months worth of dues taken out in the first month back to work for a net loss of $66.
     
  19. quadro

    quadro New Member

    Exactly.
    Only under the RLA. Under the NLRA, stikes can be local.
    True. As long as you don't include the facts that FedEx moves more cargo by air than any other company in the world, that FedEx is one of the two largest, if not the largest, mover of overnight packages, and that FedEx has a fleet of planes that is about 50% larger than UPS's (large jets, not including small feeder aircraft).
     
  20. quadro

    quadro New Member

    I didn't realize it was that bad. Thanks for sharing that.