FedEx Spends Money on Lobbyists instead of Workers

    FedEx Spent $21.1 Million In 15 Months To Preserve Its Ability To Prevent Drivers From Unionizing

Currently, House and Senate negotiators are trying to work out the differences between each chamber’s respective bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration. One key difference between the bills is that the House version corrects an inequity in labor law that allows Federal Express to operate under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which poses higher barriers to union organizing than the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). FedEx’s competitors, such as the United Parcel Service, are governed by the NLRA. The Senate bill does not contain the change.

FedEx has been waging an intense campaign in order to preserve its special treatment, led by CEO Fred Smith, who was George W. Bush’s fraternity brother and has said that “I don’t intend to recognize any unions at Federal Express.” And according to Roll Call, in 15 months the company spent $21.1 million lobbying Congress:

Last year, it ranked 14th among all groups and companies in lobbying budgets, spending more than oil giant BP and defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The Memphis-based company also has tapped politically connected assistance, contracting with 14 outside lobbying firms that employ a number of former Senators. Not only is the Breaux Lott Leadership Group working for FedEx, but its founders, former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), are listed on the lobbying disclosure forms as personally working on the account. FedEx hired the international public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to work specifically on this issue.

FedEx has successfully lobbied multiple times to remain classified as an airline (and thus under the RLA), rather than having its ground operation qualified as such, pulling it under the NLRA. This time around, it has threatened to blunt its own growth and scaremongered about medical supply deliveries being delayed if the change in labor law is made.

Tennessee’s two Republican senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, have also pledged to defeat the change. But there’s simply no reason for this inequity to remain law. FedEx’s pilots have already unionized, without the dire consequences that Smith warned about. And in the meantime, FedEx’s drivers are subject to a law that makes it all but impossible to organize and collectively bargain, as they would have to unionize literally the entire company (across the entire country), instead of being allowed to organize at the local level.

Last week, the National Mediation Board — which oversees labor-management relations under the RLA — did away with one inequitable aspect of the antiquated RLA, ensuring that uncast votes in union elections no longer count as votes against the union. Congress would do well to keep the ball rolling, enacting the change taking away the unjustified competitive advantage that FedEx now enjoys.
The Wonk Rooom

What is Honesty?

     Every person on earth has a general idea of what they think is honest. To some people, honesty is a hard and fast set of rules a person lives by without ever stretching or straining the rules. The rules of honesty are absolute, and are never a line that can be crossedI'm an Honest Guy.
     To other people, honesty is just sort of a guideline to follow. How closely that person follows the rules of honesty is directly related to how dangerous it is that they will be caught, and what the cost to them would be if they are caught.
     For most people there are levels of honesty, and dishonesty. Something slightly dishonest to one person, may be a cardinal sin to another.
     The interesting discussion comes when we talk about what is cardinal dishonesty within the company. Each of us first must understand the goal of this company is the “bottom line”. If something  makes the company more profitable, it is good. Anything that costs the company money, such as return trips, extra handling, lost revenue, public perception, is bad.
     From within the company comes another decision of the “Lord and Master” about what “honesty” is. Most drivers are under the misconception that the Teamsters/UPS contract in some way dictates all of these issues. The reality is, it only dictates the discipline the company can take if an act is deemed dishonest. There is no hard and fast language to say what would be considered a dishonest act.     
     Usually the decision over a driver committing a dishonest act comes after an evaluation in the mind of the company about the past history of the driver. Many times dishonest acts go unpunished because a driver runs under allowed, or is a swing driver, or has buttered up management somewhere along the line. Let the staunch union driver get caught in anything considered dishonest and out comes the righteous indignation from them about how any person could be so dishonest, and so dirty and cheap, that they could perform such a hideous act. Right away, they will leap to the language in the contract that allows them to terminate a driver for dishonesty. They will fly the flag of righteousness, about how every driver is expected to be held to a higher standard, and that no one is above reproach for committing a dishonest act.
     As we all understand, that flag only comes out when the “Lord and Master” says it needs to be waved. Usually an act has been committed millions of times prior to a termination, and very often has been encouraged  before a termination occurs.
     We saw that occasion recently with the terminations over late air. Most of the drivers involved were taught  to sheet potential late air as a delivery discrepancy, then make what looks like a second attempt after the air commit times. It was a practice that went on for many years. 
     Suddenly, with the advent of Telematics, the act of cheating on air commit times became obvious. People were terminated for dishonesty on a number of occasions. Several were unable to get their jobs back because the company said their dishonesty was “so blatant”. The fact is, until recent time, the act was promoted by the company because it saved money, and prevented the company from having to reimburse the customers for air delivered after the commit times. Something they promoted and guaranteed in their advertising. 
     The occasion above is just one example. I would call it “Corporate Honesty”. Again our lives are dictated by the “bottom line”.
      Real honesty is really only a function of money according to them. Real morals are decided by their profitability, not their effect on society. The decisions that are made, regarding honesty and morals, have little to do with people in our corporate society. They are made according to the ability of a corporation to make money.
                  If cheating is profitable, it is good. If cheating costs money, it is bad.
               Isn’t it still cheating? I guess only God, and the “Lord and Master” know!