Discussion in 'FedEx Discussions' started by WhatCrass, Jun 25, 2011.
It's happening in New England right now. Plus FedEx moniters this site heavily. So I'll stop there.
Not sure about any Ground organizing, but FedEx Home began organizing in the Wilmington MA facility years ago, I believe 2007. It was only 5 or 6 drivers who were sick of the racism, harrassment and overall illegal practices.
Hopefully FedEx cleans up their act because they won't last long unionized.
I remember that sleeve, but the problem was those drivers were still and still are classified as independent contractors which caused their union vote to hold no weight. The employees in the warehouses who sort, load, and unload the packages are fedex employees, and can vote in a union. So if this is true its a big deal, but unlike the OP I highly doubt this is going unnoticed by fedex management. Whereever these warehouses are I imagine they are getting flooded with anti union lawyers attempting to do whatever is necessary to sway the vote away from the union. It will be interesting to watch though.
That is not what I recall, I thought fedex lost IC status fight and that they joined our local union.
"In last week’s ruling, the NLRB said in a release issued by that it agreed with drivers that they were not independent contractors as the package delivery service contend but, actually employees."
Something we give, If they don't want to unionize then stop with the b***, An oldtimer told this a long time ago It looks like they want the best of both worlds, LESS WORK AND ,MORE MONEY.
The region is being flooded with union busters from all over the country. Of course FedEx has a ton of money right now since they don't pay anything in taxes. That's right, NOTHING in taxes and all of the warehouse workers get paid so little that they qualify for food stamps and government health care.
It helps turn a bigger profit when you have the tax payers pay all the necessary expenses to keep workers alive.
The good news is that word of warehouse workers unionizing is catching on all over the country.
You created the conditions for a union FedEx, not the workers.
And to "littleboybrown", FedEx Ground CEO David Rebolth makes $2,200/hr sitting on his ass all day, living off the labor of the worker who busts his ass in a 100 degree trailer.
Take that Fred!
The Teamsters pulled the plug on the election. Same old story with FedEx, they knew they wouldn't win, so they withdrew the petition for an election. This was done Wednesday, it is just hitting the public tonight (Thursday, 8/11).
No specifics were given publically, but my contacts state that the Teamsters had less than 30 firm "yes" votes (closer to 25 as of early in the week), out of a shop of about 72 handlers. The Teamsters are keeping details very quiet.
FedEx is already sounding a victory call on this one.
Still wonder why the Teamsters cut and run back in '97...
Do you think its going to be harder to get the warehouse workers to unionize because many of them dont see it as a career? Most I talk to do it just for the benefits, have a second job, and/or are working part time while going to school and think what they have is just fine without thinking of those in other positions. Those that acsend to the courier role and above seem to have more of a career mindset and are thus more apt to consider union vs non-union. I am betting alot of those workers that didnt vote have the mindset that its just temporary so why bother with all the politics, thinking that they wont be here in a month, year, whatever have you, so why should it matter to them. Just a general observation from what I see around the warehouse I work...but perhaps its different elsewhere.
I see it as just the opposite, by that I mean what do they have to lose? For most it's just a PT gig to pay for school or to supplement their other job. Couriers have a lot more at stake, thus the hesitation by most to do anything about it.
Another success for the masters of intimidation. From what I have read, FedEx flew-in a management strike team, replaced a couple of managers, and filled the employees with BBQ and a BS. How dumb can people be? Does anyone think that FedEx made any long-term changes to their operating practices? The implied threat of job loss was probably also a prominent factor. Do the leaders of this strike think they are now safe from the company? What morons! A couple of months from now, the people who led the effort will have been eliminated, and it will be back to business as usual. No more need to be "nice" once the threat is eliminated.
The Teamsters absolutely need to provide some legal support for those who stick their necks out and take a chance. FedEx probably made it very clear that the consequences of voting-in a union would be dire, and successfully used the same scare tactics they've used for years.
Until the Teamsters are willing to get down and play just as dirty as FedEx does, nothing is going to happen.
That's the big problem right there.
The Teamsters seem to have this light and carefree approach towards anyone signing cards. "By signing this we'll represent you" but what it really means is that "don't expect us to go out of our way to help you." And FedEx knows this too unfortunately. To put it simply, the Teamsters are gonna have to do a lot better than what they have been doing. This in my eyes is not organized labor but disorganized. Hoffa Sr. would be turning in his grave (provided if he actually had one) if he could see the candy-assed approach his knuckleheaded son is using these days.
It would be of use to get someone in MA that has first hand knowledge of the efforts of FedEx to get out the "no" vote, to put up some comments regarding FedEx's tactics.
I stated a few days ago that the Teamsters couldn't be blamed for what they did in '97, and I stand by that. They knew they couldn't overcome the RLA rules and there wasn't a petition filed for an actual vote. That was a losing battle before it even got started. No sense in sending forces in to do battle when it wouldn't change a single thing, discretion is the better part of valor...
With this vote, they blew it big time - and I mean REALLY big. The Teamsters got enough in the shop to sign cards (30% of shop members need to sign cards in order to proceed with a certification election). They invested in an organizing campaign, and with just 48 hours to go before the actual balloting, they withdrew. They can't claim they saved any cash by doing this, since the costs incurred were sunk costs - nonrecoverable. The only reason the Teamsters withdrew their request for a vote is because they decided they were going to lose and they made the decision to "fold" and not let the public or FedEx know just where the percentages actually were - in regards to unionization.
This move was purely a play of "Realpolitik" on the Teamsters part, devoid of ANY concern for the handlers who stuck their heads out to sign cards. Mr. FedEx was correct in his post before this, in that the organizers will be slowly pushed out, and within 3 months, will be gone.
The implications for Express Couriers, RTD's, Ramp Agents and Mechanics are profound. If the Teamsters decide they can't win an election, even after getting a certification vote underway (in the event 30%+ of craft sign cards), the Teamsters will walk rather than taking a loss in a ballot.
With this action, I've lost all confidence in the Teamsters. They have made it clear with their actions Wednesday in Massachusetts that they will cut and run rather than lose face with a possible defeat in a certification election.
Freddie must be gulping down the brandy by the bottle tonight, he won BIG with this.
This means that there is NO HOPE for Express employees. There is no other union with the expertise to battle FedEx and it appears that the Teamsters don't have the testicular fortitude to battle FedEx. This means the employees of Express have lost "Option B", and are faced with Express' old standby, "If you don't like it, there's the door".
I knew this when I left, but decided to put up a good fight anyway. At this point, I'd have to recommend that everyone still in Express to keep their mouths shut and either quietly make a departure plan, or grit their teeth for as long as they can.
I bet the bonuses to the "busting team" will also be rather handsome. I'm sure they're celebrating tonight too. I'm just left wondering what the handlers of that Ground terminal are going through tonight...
Great post. I really don't think the Teamsters have a clue when it comes to dealing with FedEx tactics. One would think that FedEx could successfully be sued for union-busting, but I seriously doubt that the IBT has the gonads to go in that direction. I met with Teamsters reps back in 1996, and they didn't do a single thing they promised, which was the requirement before I stuck my neck out. Not trusting them, I never stepped forward, which was probably a smart move on my part.
Here's what I asked for, and never got delivered;
1. IBT reps in the parking lot (public, not FedEx property) passing out literature and talking to employees.
2. A meeting, where IBT reps could state their case for unionization.
3. Legal support from IBT lawyers for anyone who signed a card and then got targeted by FedEx.
4. An honest explanation of dues, union rules and policies, and when and how FedEx workers would be protected from predatory management.
They wouldn't do any of them, so I walked away. Their deal was that we had to come to them, and once that happened, they'd offer support, another indication that they absolutely do not understand the way FedEx operates. It's no wonder that their membership has shrunk tremendously over the years. They are completely passive, and expect to fight an army with a pea-shooter. It isn't going to happen.
I'm really sick of all this.
I'm at the point where I despise the Teamsters as much as I do Fred.
And unfortunately there's nowhere else to turn.
Over a year ago, when I was still with Express and actively "working with" the Teamsters, I made requests much like the requests listed by Mr. FedEx. Most significant of my requests was that each Express station be assigned an IBT organizer to lead meetings off-site for Express employees to be able to have open ended Q&A sessions, along with a visible presence off company property, to "show the face" of the Teamsters. Every time I pressed for this, they refused. I got a song and dance, then was handed literature to distribute myself. Through associates, I moved up the IBT hierarchy to try to get some positive response, there was lots of sympathy, but absolutely NO real assistance offered. It was solely up to the employees of Express to do all the legwork, get cards signed, then have the IBT petition for a certification vote when THEY felt comfortable. Knowing the choice was between Fred and IBT, I still tried, but it was a futile effort.
Needless to say, I wasn't going to have that flashing bull's eye on my back when I was uncertain of my departure date from Express. Once I had a firm departure date set, only then I broke cover and learned real quick the measures Express will go to in order to squelch union activity and organizers. I know damn good and well what the organizers at that Ground terminal are going to be subjected to in the coming weeks. My advice to them is to start putting out resume's/applications next week, you'll save yourself some time in finding a new job.
This is why I would REALLY like for someone in Massachusetts who has first hand knowledge of the organizing drive to post here, without revealing their identity. We don't care about grammar and proper spelling, we just need some real first hand accounts, to fill in the gaps in the information coming out of MA. This information is CRITICAL, since it will reveal the tactics and measures that FedEx engaged in to discourage or outright intimidate the work group prior to the scheduled vote. The implications of the attempt in MA have consequences which reach FAR beyond the handlers of that terminal and beyiond the Teamsters; the consequences stretch across all FedEx op-co's.
I started posting here again due solely to the impending vote in MA. It was hoped that if FedEx were to have a crack develop in its anti-union armor, that there would be some hope of eventually having that vulnerability spread throughout FedEx and get some real change for the benefit of the wage employees done, if not actual outright unionization. That hope is now dashed.
No one in their right mind will "break cover" now in Express. Since the Teamsters have more or less made it known that the employees of Express will need to not just come half way across the proverbial bridge, but practically all of the way before they'll step in and make a presence - there is no point in Express employees working with the Teamsters given those conditions.
I do know that the IBT understands the climate that exists within FedEx and in particular Express. They know it well since there are a number of former Express employees either directly associated with the IBT, or in regular contact....... However, the national leadership of the IBT has made their decision regarding Express, no significant expendature of resources or possible loss of face in a direct confrontation with FedEx. This is why they sat on their hands all through late 2009 and into 2010 waiting on Congress to pull Express' RLA status. They'll take a slam dunk if it is set up for them by the employees of Express, but they're not going to spend any time on the court hustling against the machine of FedEx for an uncertain return.
At this point, it is merely an exercise in information gathering. What did FedEx do specifically at that terminal, what did the IBT do in terms of drumming up support? The national media isn't even going to cover this story. I got an email that the Commercial Appeal covered it (surprise, surprise), but outside of that, only a few business oriented news organizations even put up a paragraph about the event. I doubt that even the local MA press will do anything in-depth, like actually TALKING to one of the handlers (off the record) to get some background as to the inside story.
This is why it is CRITICAL for someone - perferably one of the handlers at that terminal - to get some account down so that the tactics of Express (and the failure or IBT) can be analyzed and possibly used to assist another union if they want to attempt organization sometime in the future - I know, for all the good that will do. You don't even have to post it openly, just open a profile on BC, then private mail one of the posters who you believe are sympathetic to unionization. Don't reveal personal information, but try to fill in the picture with as many facts as possible. It will help others in the future.
Awhile back when it looked possible that the RLA would be terminated by the Democrats I had quite a few discussions with coworkers about unionizing. Looks now like I was sticking my neck out with a serious risk of getting fired. I wonder if the IBT would've made a serious effort even if FedEx lost the RLA battle? What everything has boiled down to is we've just spent years venting about the way things are but have had no real backing from those with the power or money to implement real change. If anything we were used as leverage in a bill to get concessions on other things. During that process I remember Fred Smith saying he would take care of those who've stayed with him. He was supposedly referring to senior couriers but considering what may be going on with senior couriers right now he must've meant investors. About all we can do at this point is look for clues that major changes are about to happen and get ourselves prepared for them. I've mentioned to several coworkers that I believe Express will soon be an overnight service with our hours slashed. Since I was the one talking about a possible union soon they're looking at me like the boy who cried wolf. And if things don't change quickly people tend to not believe it until it finally affects them. One question: will FedEx want the ISP to be implemented in all 50 states before giving Ground our 2 and 3 day freight?
That is the $64,000 question.... You've come a long way...
The answer (IMHO) has more to do with political reality, than financial reality.
The Teamsters pulling the plug on the election has slipped COMPLETELY under the media radar. Bloomberg (internet business news) picked it up Wednesday evening. The webbots didn't hit the story till Thursday afternoon (appearing in Google searches). The Commercial Appeal had an almost verbatim copy of the Bloomberg piece by Thursday evening. I posted not too long after that. Neither the Boston Globe or Boston Herald has anything in reference to the story. The terminal is in the Boston metro area, to the south of Boston about 20-25 miles. It is local news for Boston. Nothing, NOTHING is in the Boston print media with regards to this story.
Given how quickly Bloomberg and the CA picked up the story, I highly suspect that FedEx gave the reporters a phone call and email, in order to get the info out ASAP. I encourage readers to look at both the Bloomberg and CA pieces. The last half of the articles read precisely like a FedEx press release. Maury Lane's fingerprints are all over the articles.
Out of the Teamsters..., absolute silence. Take a look at their site, specifically the press releases. Plenty of releases for August 10 through 12th - absolutely nothing regarding the dropping of the petition for a certification vote - nothing. This is a story in and of itself.
Since the Boston market is very sympathetic to organized labor in general (well, the Verizon stike is ticking off a few people it seems), one must assume that their lack of reportage on this story is due in large part to their desire to not show organized labor in an unfavorable light.
Back to political reality...
The Ground IC model is still contentious in many states, pulling freight off of Express - who is bound by the RLA - and placing it on a business model which has done a complete end-run on the classic employer-employee business model, would more than likely catch the attention of Congress, and many state attorneys general. I believe that FedEx will want to have the ISP model firmly in place, to thwart any "protests" of pulling work from a company which is heavily regulated in regards to unionization attempts and placing that volume on an op-co which cannot unionize.
Look at the fight that is going on with Boeing wanting to place production in the southern U.S. - which isn't unionized - in theory taking work away from unionized workers in Washington state. FedEx is aware of the issues that are brought up with "shifting of work" to more advantageous modes. I don't think FedEx wants to stir up that hornet's nest while Ground is still under the IC model. Put the IC model behind them, get the ISP model running and optimized, then look to shift volume over.
Frankly, given the "Run away, run away!!" move by the Teamsters, the pressure is completely off Express now to make any sudden moves. Think about it, if the Teamsters can't pull off a union drive in Massachusetts, where can they pull off a union drive??? It would be one thing if the drive was in Alabama or something, but Massachusetts???? For crying out loud, that should've been a Teamsters slam dunk - they blew it!!
As I said before, either make an exit plan, or grit your teeth for as long as possible. Once the ISP model is firmly in place within Ground, that is when I suspect Express will make open moves to shift volume.
The next election is less than 15 months away - not long at all. Sixteen months from now (given the speculation of the political pundits), there will be a Republican President-elect, the Senate will more than likely be in Republican hands and Fred Smith will have more than likely already made his reorganization of Express reality.
There is no way that the Democrats will try to reinsert the RLA language in the FAA bill when they have to address it in September (they did a "without objection" extention of FAA legislation, to get constuction back underway, and collect those taxes). They'll fight on the rural airpost subsidies, but FedEx has won in regard to keeping its RLA status.
If Express had lost its RLA status, the IBT would've made a serious effort in the northeast and Pacific coast regions of the US. They would've organzied those stations under NLRB rules, then made a move for a contract. With a contract in place, then a "domino effect" of other stations across the country would've followed - "Hey, I want better pay too, sign me up" would've been the cry. The Teamsters knew this, FedEx knew this, and this is why Fred pulled out the stops in 2009 to do whatever it took to keep the RLA in place, and threaten scorched earth if he didn't win (the Boeing order contingent on his keeping the RLA status...).
As far as Fred "taking care of those who stood by him...". Look at how he takes care of the Ground drivers. Look at your pension now compared to 4 years ago. Look at how the 401k matching funds were cancelled (right after the pension was gutted), when Fred got nervous in 2009. If your idea of being taken care of is something slightly better than wage slavery, then yes, Fred will take care of you.
As far as talking to co-workers (on company time), don't. There is nothing to gain now. Direct them here, talk to them off company time, but talking on the job now is a complete waste of time, and increases the probability of getting that bull's eye on your back.
"Abandon hope all ye who enter here."
Not for or against the Teamsters here. But this certainly does not seem to have been a "slam dunk". The union certainly must have had a good idea of how the vote was going to go, and must have known it was going to be overwhelmingly bad. Big win, close win, close loss, even moderate loss, the election is held. If the vote is held and its an overwhelming defeat, as bad as it looks now it would have been much worse. Not only bad for the employees of FedEx but also now for the Teamsters and even other Teamster barging units. Yup, the Teamsters cut their losses. Reality is that to unionize in the current enviorment, employees need to be willing to risk their job. Sign a card, risk your job. Vote for the union, risk your job. Vote the union in, try for a contract, risk your job. Untill the majority of FedEx employees are willing to risk it, there will be no union.
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