So, FedEx Express is spending millions of dollars to prevent what it calls the “Big Brown Bailout” by Congress. FedEx is claiming that legislation currently in Congress includes a “230-word legislative bailout deep inside the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009.”
What’s got FedEx so up in arms? According to the Wall Street Journal, the bill would place FedEx under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act rather than the Railway Labor Act. The change, according to the article, would make it easier for FedEx drivers to unionize. UPS, which supports the bill, is heavily unionized already.
FedEx, in addition to creating a multi-million dollar campaign to stop the bill, created a web site, www.brownbailout.com, to defeat the bill. According to the web site, “UPS’ bailout would shoehorn FedEx Express – an airline created in 1971 focused on next-day delivery of essential goods and documents around the world – into the same operating rules as a 100-year-old trucking company. FedEx Express and other airlines operate just fine under airline regulations, but UPS doesn’t like competition. Keep in mind, UPS chose to form as a separate trucking company for its pickup and delivery operations.”
The real issue, it would seem, is about organized labor. FedEx is afraid of labor joining the party and raising costs. “In 1997 UPS experienced a system-wide strike that crippled business and commerce across America. Now it wants Congress to expose FedEx Express to that risk,” said Maury Lane, FedEx Express spokesperson in a press release. “America relies too much on the reliability and dependability of the FedEx Express overnight-delivery network, and we can’t allow this bailout to pass only because UPS wants to harm its main competitor.”
FedEx’s argument is that UPS is a delivery company while FedEx is an airline. In fact, according to the web site, “UPS ships 85 percent of its parcels on the ground. FedEx Express is an airline, flying 85 percent of its packages in the air.”
I guess those white delivery vans with the words FedEx on the side are just my imagination. Next time I’m waiting for a package, I’ll just look to the sky as FedEx drops my delivery from above. I sure hope it isn’t breakable because if it is, I’ll have to call UPS.