FAA bill passed, but Brown Bailout lingers on

The U.S. House passed an FAA Reauthorization extension bill yesterday that funds several safety programs for the airline industry, but still does not address the controversial FedEx Express and UPS (NYSE: UPS) “Brown Bailout” provision. The Senate approved the bill this morning.

“FedEx has long supported the important air safety legislation which Congress has now passed. We also support Congress’ effort to pass a broad Reauthorization bill, without extraneous labor provisions, after the summer recess,” said FedEx Corp. director of communications Maury Lane.

The extension gives Congress another 60 days to come to agreement on a broader reauthorization bill. But that doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.

Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has maintained his support for the controversial provision, which would make it easier for FedEx Express workers to unionize.

FedEx has vigorously fought the provision, creating a website, BrownBailout.com, and spending millions of dollars in lobbying and advertising efforts. UPS too, has, been active behind the scenes, as has the Teamsters.

Just my guess here, but I think this fight will continue to drag on until after the New Year. I don’t see Congressman having the fight in them to discuss such a controversial provision during a lame-duck session in September just before mid-term elections.