The time is now

Discussion in 'FedEx Discussions' started by Testicular Fortitude, May 27, 2009.

  1. We have won the first battle to UNIONIZE but not the war.Now is the time for everyone who wants union representation in Fedex Express to take action.The Teamsters office in my area called me to give me the lowdown on what has to happen.Those who want to get involved need to go to the Teamsters office in your area,identify yourself as a disgruntled Fedex Express worker and ask for the Union representation cards.Sign yours there and take extra cards to give out to your co-workers.Just remember that these cards cannot be given out on company time or company property.Once enough authorization cards are signed the Teamsters Union can begin rallies in each state where more employees can sign up and get more informed about what UNIONIZATION will mean and how it will benefit all Express workers.All of the UPS drivers can get involved also by getting these cards and giving them out to the Express drivers in their areas.
  2. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    Aren't you getting a bit ahead of yourself? Yes, the bill passed the House, but it still has to pass the Senate.
  3. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    That's what I was thinking. Confucius say, "No counting of chickens until hatched".
  4. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    The time isn't quite yet....

    The Senate hasn't even gotten a version of the FAA bill through committee yet. If FedEx hourlies start signing union cards now, and Fred somehow manages to get the Senate committee to table the RLA exemption amendment to the FAA reauthorization; every FedEx employee that signs a union card will have a giant bulls-eye on them.

    Wait until the Senate votes the reauthorization bill. If the RLA exemption for FedEx is pulled as part of the bill, THEN the time would be right to start signing union cards. I'm not signing mine until the bill is sitting on the President's desk (with FedEx's RLA exemption terminated).

    Another factor to consider is whether one lives in a "union" state, or a "right-to-work" state. If one lives in a right-to-work state, and the station doesn't vote to bring in a union, there will be no union representation in that particular station/ramp. If one lives in a right-to-work state, they should get an idea of what percentage of the craft employees would vote for a union before they sign their card. If less than half vote for the union in a RTW state, there is no union in most circumstances at that location.

    What is needed now is for the Teamsters (not FedEx employees) to put out their necks and make a statement regarding the process of certification of a union in a particular location if FedEx changes to a NLRB. In particular, how the process would occur in each station in RTW states. We all know the law states that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for union activities, and we all know that employers DO retaliate against employees who try to unionize.

    Don't lose your head, before the process is completed. Let the RLA exemption get pulled first, THEN sign the union card. What one can do is write a letter to their Senators and Representative, detailing how getting FedEx's RLA exemption pulled would enable you to engage in collective bargaining to get back all that has been taken from you in the past few years. This is especially important if your Senators and Representatives include a Republican. Let them know you vote, let them know this issue matters to you. Be respectful, be logical, be firm. Get Congress to complete what has been started, then sign a union card once FedEx has a realistic chance of getting a union recognized.
  5. Broke

    Broke Member

    The Senate probably won't place the RLA/NLRA provision in their version of the bill.They will likely pass their bill without it and the House and Senate will work it out in conference.Ultimately I do think it will be included in the final bill and become law.
  6. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    I disagree with this. The House has a habit of passing legislation that gets chopped in conference committee. Most lobbyist focus their efforts on the Senate when it comes to squashing unfavorable legislation, since if the Senate doesn't include it in their version, it rarely makes it out of conference committee with the House language intact. The Senators that sit on the conference committee are reluctant to include something in the final bill that the Senate committee didn't include in the Senate version. It does happen, but usually on non-significant issues. Getting FedEx's RLA exemption pulled isn't insignificant.

    Fred made available the fleet of executive jets to Senators in the recent elections (they paid the legallly required first class equivalency fare) to make sure they knew "what side of their bread is buttered". Senators like the perks of office, and are reluctant to tick off a company that provides perks that directly impacts their power.

    Right now, getting the reauthorization bill out of conference committee later this summer with FedEx's RLA exemption pulled is a crap shot in my opinion. There is a Democrat majority in place, but they like their perks just as any politician does. That is why the best thing FedEx employees can do right now is to write their representatives (particularily their Senators).
  7. Broke

    Broke Member

    Dude... you sure seem to know it all.What other information can you give us?
  8. If thousands of employees in every state attend the pro-union rallies,which will be reported on television and the press the Senators in every state would get a clear message that their political careers are on the line.Herr Fred has lost a lot of his political pull over the last couple of years and will continue to lose more with his threats.
  9. Broke.It is basically simple.Go to your local Teamsters office and GET INVOLVED.I have been involved in the unionization movement for the last 10 ,11 years maybe even longer than that.As far as having a bullseye on me I welcome it.The managers and senior manager in my station know my stance on the situation and I am still around Fighting the Just Fight.Like I stated in the opening thread that we won the first battle but not the war.
  10. Broke

    Broke Member

    I was being sarcastic, because I'm not sure this person is really sympathetic to our cause

    As far as the unionization effort goes, I've been involved with it for about four years and nothing has happened to me yet.I agree we need to start a massive organization effort right now so that if and when the faa bill passes the process will have already begun.I don't think that signing a card is a bad idea either, because if by some chance you do get fired the Teamsters can provide you with legal council to help you fight your case. Anyone who's interested in our movement can register at
  11. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    Let me make my position clear. I want a union to be certified so that employees have a chance to get back their defined benefit pension plan, get a reasonable top-out time, and get a benefits package that doesn’t cost $200 a month in premiums. Personal sympathy has absolutely nothing to do with anything (the public’s sympathy is VITAL, which I’ll illustrate below). This is an issue of pure pragmatism and motivated self-interest to get back what was taken from me (and every other FedEx hourly employee). The best and only way to do that is though a union. Wishful thinking isn’t going to accomplish anything. Carefully choreographed actions by the Couriers, RTDs and mechanics stand the best chance of thwarting Fred Smith’s actions taken over the past few years. PSP died last year, and EVERY FedEx employee (with the exception of the executives and aircrew) was thrown under the proverbial bus to meet Smith’s desire for extra revenue to grow the company.

    Recommendations to march down to the Teamster’s local right now and sign a union card is what the Teamsters definitely want, but it doesn’t necessarily serve the best interest of the individual signing said card at this time. For this “endeavor” to have any chance to succeed, employees that are in the undecided category need to be persuaded and informed. Unfurling the banners and singing La Internationale isn’t what the majority of potential union members have in mind.

    With the removal of the RLA restrictions, many stations will easily vote in a union and gain a bargaining position. However, not all stations have a majority of employees that are even interested in a union. I work in such a station. I’ve spoken with most of the employees at my station and inquired as to the leanings of those who I haven’t spoken to. If a union vote were to be held at my station right now, it would result in a union NOT being recognized. A large part of the reluctance to unionize is the negative reputation of the Teamsters in the minds of the undecided. If another union (or potentially an independent FedEx employee only union) was an option, then I believe my station would narrowly approve union representation. I know that similar situations exist in other stations where I’ve corresponded with employees which work there. This is something the Teamsters are going to have to overcome. I’m not overly enthused about having a choice between the Teamsters or nothing; but it is the only choice that exists and I will sign the union card when the time is right. What I want is for every FedEx employee to have as much information as possible, and then make a decision based on what is right for them, INDIVIDUALLY. My goal would be best served by gaining union representation. However, many employees don’t think as I (and they do have valid opposition based upon their personal goals). I can persuade and inform; but I can’t in good faith tell someone to take an action which may be against their personal interest. Right now, signing the union card and engaging in public demonstrations is counterproductive in my opinion.

    To prove my point, look at the FedEx news articles which appear in the “FedEx News” link on the forum. Virtually every print story in the U.S. that has “FedEx” in the text is linked in the list. Read the article to get the angle the writer is taking with the story. Then (and most importantly), read the comments section – if one is provided by the news provider. This provides a good gauge of how public opinion is going towards the issue and FedEx in general. About 75% of the comments are supportive of the corporation AGAINST the employees. About 25% are supportive of the employees “rights” to organize to better their compensation package. Fred Smith has ensured that FedEx (the company) has a VERY positive public “image”. This shows in the comments section of the news stories. When a story comes out which talks about employees potentially certifying a union, the “public” has a generally negative opinion. This is an obstacle which must be overcome. In the event of an employee strike, negative public opinion against the striking workers is more powerful than the best corporate negotiator. During a strike, each side wants to appear as the “victim”. With the economy in the shape it is in right now, FedEx would look to be the victim, not the employees. We know this isn’t the case, but the PUBLIC perception is what is important. This is a case where the “facts” aren’t the deciding factor, but rather the sympathy play… and we aren’t getting the public sympathy right now.

    Going out and staging public demonstrations right now wouldn’t build sympathy for FedEx workers, it would build resentment. With a 10% unemployment rate looming, people afraid that they are going to be the next ones laid off and people getting reductions in their work hours; seeing a group of currently employed FedEx employees protesting for an INCREASE in pay, a REDUCTION in benefit premiums and an “enhancement” in their current pension plan (when they are taking pay CUTS, looking at NO benefits and the possibility of NO pension), is a non-starter in the public sympathy department. Let’s don’t shoot ourselves in the foot before the true battle has actually begun (a contract negotiation AFTER a union is certified).

    The reason Fred fought to keep the RLA exemption, is that he knew it was next to impossible to have 50% of ALL FedEx craft employees to vote to certify a union simultaneously. In certain areas of the country (the north-east and west coast), getting 50% to vote to certify a union within an operating location was a snap. But when their votes were to be “diluted” with the votes of the employees voting to not have union representation in the remainder of the country (as per RLA requirements), a union didn’t stand a chance of being certified. Getting FedEx’s RLA exemption pulled now allows a union to get their “foot in the door”. However, it won’t be certified automatically on a national basis. In some areas (north-east and west coast), union certification will be almost automatic with the RLA exemption being pulled. In the rest of the country, it will be an effort to persuade the undecided or reluctant employees to put their trust in the Teamsters, rather than FedEx’s “Board of Directors”.

    This is why the Teamsters need to attempt to gain the trust of the FedEx employees FIRST; NOT trying to get a FEW to go out and create a media event. A media event is in the best interest of the Teamsters, but it will do nothing to persuade the undecided and reluctant FedEx employee that the Teamsters are the best course of action for them. With the rest of America afraid about their own jobs right now, having a circus appear on TV wouldn’t do much for garnering sympathy for OUR situation.
  12. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    Most stations posted FedEx’s response to the House passing the FAA Reauthorization Bill, and the Senate not yet having taken it up (under Bronczek’s signature), Monday. It is rather long, but gives the game plan for FedEx to defeat attempts by its hourly employees to successfully establish collective bargaining. It is full of the usual FedEx euphuisms and distortions regarding the issues at hand.

    Completely absent from the document was any mention of the unilateral abrogation of the defined benefit pension plan last year, the “suspension” of the 401K matching funds (which was supposed to be our “remedy” to make up for the gutted pension plan) and the pay freeze that has been in effect for the past 10+ weeks (contrary to the “PSP” philosophy FedEx practiced till a few years ago). Bronczek states that FedEx prefers a “direct relationship with its employees” (euphuism for a non-union company). When a company uses the “direct relationship…” phrase, it is carefully dancing around the fact that it is ANTI-UNION, and doesn’t want to have to compensate its employees as other union companies compensate their employees.

    Bronczek goes on to state that both the Teamsters and UPS are in favor of FedEx losing its RLA exemption, which by definition is BAD for FedEx. He is absolutely right. It would be bad for the senior management and executives to have a union make its way into Express, and force a halt to the take-away’s which have characterized the relationship for the past few years. No hourly employee should EVER make the mistake of assuming that what is good for FedEx (the corporation) is good for them too; since PSP has died and has been replaced with a disingenuous employer/employee relationship (that “direct relationship with its employees” garbage).

    Other airlines (this is how Express views itself, as a part 121 cargo airline, NOT a company which moves packages from shipper to recipient), that have the “direct relationship…” with its employees are notorious for having low wages, poor benefits, poor working conditions and constant maneuvering by executive management to see just how many concessions they can get out of their employees, before they either generate an excessive turn-over rate, or unionize. We all know the turn-over rate FedEx has experienced in the past few years. If it wasn’t for the economy tanking late last year, the turn-over rate would’ve been astronomical this year.

    Don’t allow FedEx get away with completing the process of turning us into “package monkeys”. Write your Senators and let them know we need to have FedEx’s RLA exemption revoked, so that we have some power to say NO to the abuse that we’ve been experiencing.

    As an aside to my previous post, check the latest addition to the Teamster’s site for FedEx mechanics: (no www…)

    The morning after I wrote my post (evening of May 28th), the Teamsters recommended writing your Senators to get them to include the revocation of FedEx’s RLA exemption. Sound advice if I may say so myself...

    We all know that June 1, 2009 was the start of the fiscal year for FedEx (where budgets and allowances are started from). If you haven’t already done so, check the balance for your uniform allowance for the fiscal year… Then ask your manager why the balance is what it is… You’ll get a kick out of the answer.
  13. FedEx All the Way!

    FedEx All the Way! New Member

    At that point you can hand over your paycheck as well - the teamsters do need to party!
  14. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    Another absolutely brilliant point...where do you come up with these gems of wisdom?
  15. Broke

    Broke Member

    I will gladly hand over $50-$60 a month to the Teamsters, in return for a $10-$15 an hr raise and a better benefit package.It's pretty simple your union dues are only 2 1/2 times your hourly rate of pay per month.
  16. over9five

    over9five Senior Member Staff Member

    FedExers will finally be paid what they're worth! What an insult it's been doing the exact same thing as a UPS driver, but making $20,000 less.
  17. partykid

    partykid New Member

    The Fed-Ex guys i sometime eat lunch with have 5 to 20 stops left, No p/up's, While i have 40 stops left and 41 p/up's. I think its Funny when they say MAN its gonna be rough out here with my A/C an no p/up's!!! I always say back on Friday, Man let's look at each others pay stubs while I'm sitting in you A/C!!!! As friends of mine they laugh, Waiting on the day they are check out my paycheck~!~!!!!!!:happy2::wink2::happy2:
  18. Broke

    Broke Member

    More like $40,000 less, I only made $34,000 last year and most of the UPS drivers I know made between $70,000 and $80,000.
  19. DorkHead

    DorkHead Active Member

    You forgot to add on about $16,000.00 contributed in to my pension and full health benefits with no co-pay. But we do have a co-pay for pharmacy. $5.00
  20. Ricochet1a

    Ricochet1a New Member

    This is precisely the problem that confronts the FedEx work force. A full time Courier starting with FedEx makes about $15/hr, and has a benefits package worth about $5,000/yr (full family coverage), and the “joke” pension worth another $2,500 a year. So a FedEx Courier costs Fred just under $40,000 a year for 2200 hours of work each year.

    To compare apples to apples (UPS to FedEx), compare a FedEx Courier at their 10 year point to a UPS driver that has been with the company for 10 years. The UPS driver will have done a few years loading packages, whereas most Couriers never work as handlers. At the 10 year point (company employment), the UPS driver will be maxed out making about $70,000 in direct wages, and possessing a benefits package worth $7,500/year and a pension plan that is worth an additional $10-15,000/year. The UPS driver makes about $90,000 a year in total compensation at their 10 year point with UPS. The FedEx Courier would make an hourly rate of about $20/hr at the 10 year point, have a benefits package worth $5,000/year and a pension “contribution” around another $5,000/yr; making for an annual compensation package of about $55,000 a year (including OT when the economy is doing alright). This is a disparity of $35,000 a year. I’ll grant that the UPS driver has a more physically demanding job (comparing the average UPS route to the average Express route), so the UPS driver does indeed “deserve” a higher compensation level. I reluctantly work FedEx given the “moderate” physical demands of the job, but I wouldn’t even show up to work if I had to have the physical demands of a UPS driver with my FedEx wages (some FedEx Couriers DO have the same physical demands as a UPS driver, and they have that $35,000/yr disparity).

    But “deserve” has absolutely nothing to do with market economics. Fred has learned that he can get packages delivered for $13/hr AND offer no benefits to his Ground drivers. He likes this model, since he can save a lot in labor costs and transfer the savings over to expansion of market share. A Ground driver works as long and as hard as the “typical” UPS driver, and they take home about $30-35,000 a year, with NO BENEFITS. It isn’t a matter of “deserve”, it is a matter of what compensation level is necessary to get the job done; in Ground it is $13/hr with no benefits.

    This is why I’ve written that I’m “pragmatic” about what a union can achieve if the RLA exemption gets pulled from FedEx (and the people I’ve spoken with are either reluctant or opposed to unionization). If Fred can get people to deliver his volume for $13/hr, what are the odds that he can get people off the street to deliver Express packages for somewhere between that and what Express is making now in wages? Unionized labor has the power to strike, FedEx has the power to have a lockout if he decides he doesn’t want to play ball.

    This gets to the crux of the issue. Is Fred going to roll-over and begin compensating his work force at $80,000 a year, when he’s only paying $55,000 a year right now? This is the source of my pragmatism. Look at it from this angle. Fred in the past 18 months, has gutted the pension plan, halted 401k matching funds less than a year later and then turned around a froze a “scheduled” pay increase not much after that. How many employees quit, and how many are still making sure they get their PO off on time, and don’t blow a PU? We all know the answer.

    Some are going to say now, “This idiot is taking the side of Fred, shoot him!!” No, this idiot despises what is happening in America right now, with a freefall in wages and corporate greed squeezing the middle class out of existence. “Broke” made $34,000 in wages last year, and had compensation of about another $7,000 in total benefits, for $41,000 total compensation for working his tail off. Is that equitable to the UPS driver making in excess of $80,000 doing very close to the same thing? (Rhetorical question)

    I look at it this way. A modified game of blackjack is about to start between FedEx and its employees. The modification is that the bet is placed after the cards have been dealt. Fred is the dealer, and has dealt the hand. We’ve got an “8” and a “7” in our hand, and Fred is showing a face card right now. What are we going to bet? Some of the “hotheads” are really hoping he’s got a “2” in the hole, and are willing to bet accordingly. A lot of people think he’s got something between a 7 and a 9 in the hole. What do I think he has in the hole?

    When I play blackjack, I like to keep a running count of what cards have been dealt, so I have an idea of the probability of what the next few cards will be. Right now, it looks like there are a lot of face cards left in the deck to deal (meaning it would be a bad thing to take a hit with a 15). So what is there to be done?

    We can’t play Fred’s game of blackjack. The deck is stacked against the employees. We have to find a different game to play, to better up the odds, and have a decent chance of winning. That game is poker. That is what unions do every time they negotiate with companies. They essentially try to bluff the corporation that they have a better hand (employees will indeed strike), while the corporation tries to determine if it is indeed a bluff, or the employees will indeed strike. The corporation does a cost-benefit analysis of the contract proposal (bluff) and the losses that would occur in the event of a strike. Right now, FedEx agreeing to a contract that even comes close to UPS standards would cost FedEx too much, so they’d rather have a lockout (strike would be cheaper than agreeing to a contract). What would FedEx do then? Refuse to play poker with the union and look for another player (replacement workers, scabs…).

    This is why I’ve written that for a union to be successful, membership must be in the 70% level on a nationwide basis. It also must be supported by the union (financially) to reduce the temptation of striking employees to cross the picket line to get their wages back (no doubt Fred will be throwing out bones to get enough people to cross the picket line). It must also include the mechanics, to shut down the line haul system of Express. If Fred can keep the line haul system operational, and only has to deal with 30-40% strike compliance among the craft employees, Fred has the capability to break a strike. This is what I see right now on a nationwide basis (that rigged game of blackjack).

    In an ideal world, the best solution (for the employees/potential union) would be to have the Ground drivers immediately classified as employees instead of Independent Contractors. This would substantially reduce the pool of potential “scab” labor to break an Express strike. Fred’s possessing the Ground IC’s, gives him the ability to bring them in to deliver overnight volume in markets that have substantial union membership and to use them to deliver non-overnight volume where needed (all those face cards I think are in his rigged deck).