Monday, June 22, 2009

FedEx vs. UPS

I had heard a little bit about this, but here's Chuck Muth with some helpful analysis of the political brouhaha concerning UPS and FedEx.

Conservatives continue to find themselves split in the fight between FedEx and UPS over a bill to place FedEx Express drivers under the same law as every other package delivery driver. And many who are on the FedEx side are there simply because FedEx is non-union and, hey, conservatives don’t like unions, right?

But this isn’t about unionization. This is about the government treating two package delivery companies - both of which use air and ground transportation to provide their services - equally by placing their operations under the same federal labor laws. That’s it.

On its new anti-UPS website, FedEx claims the proposed change would “force the world’s most efficient airline to operate under trucking rules that have never applied to airlines.” But is FedEx Express an airline….or a package delivery company?...

So along comes a bill (H.R. 915) which would keep FedEx Express’s actual airline employees under the Railway Labor Act while moving its non-flying truck drivers over to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) with all the other non-flying truck drivers in the package delivery industry. FedEx is objecting because of the special anti-unionization benefits the company currently enjoys under the Railway Labor Act.

I fully understand WHY FedEx doesn’t want to give up this special government benefit, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

Bear in mind we’re not talking about FedEx employees and support personnel who fly packages around the country here. We’re talking about drivers delivering packages AFTER they’ve arrived by air....

More on that in a second, but first let’s take a look at the top 20 U.S. airlines and their employees.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for 2007, American Airlines – which has the largest number of pilots and co-pilots of any airline – has zero “Transport Related” employees (truck drivers). United, Delta, Southwest, USAirways and Continental have zero truck drivers. Northwest has 165 truck drivers and Mesa has 4. But Express Jet, Sky West, American Eagle, Jet Blue, Comair, Airtran and Alaska have zero truck drivers. Heck, even UPS has zero truck drivers in its own airline operation. But FedEx lists 86,979 truck drivers.

Equality under the law. Why, it’s as American as….well, FedEx...

I’ve created a new dedicated blog/website to address the issue for those who have an interest in it.

UPDATE: In a later posting on the same topic, a commenter said that FedEx has different divisions which are under the same umbrella, but not part of FedEx per se. This allows them have different divisions under the RLA and NLRA.

I'd never heard that about FedEx. Maybe I missed it; if not, that would seem to be an easy, compelling explanation!

If so, if UPS had kept things separate, then they would have been able (at least theoretically) to have some of their work under RLA and NLRA as well.


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