FedEx trying to fend off reclassification of its workforce

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One of the region’s largest employers, Memphis-based Federal Express, is still scrambling like one of its package haulers at the height of an early-morning sort to defeat a proposed reclassification of its work force.

In recent days, FedEx sent to Indianapolis its head of communications, Maury Lane, to try to win the hearts and minds of businesses. Lane and FedEx brass have been trying to counter legislation pending in Congress being pushed by arch rival United Parcel Service and the Teamsters union.

Legislation passed by the House and due for Senate consideration would remove FedEx’s air cargo employees from coverage under the Railway Labor Act, which was extended to airlines in 1936. The RLA essentially prevents a local labor dispute in one part of a broader transportation system from bringing that system to a halt.

FedEx says its Indianapolis air operation could feel disruptions if workers are reclassified by Congress, as rival UPS seeks. (IBJ file photo)

UPS started its air cargo business in the 1980s, but its workers are still under the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act—making it more vulnerable to system-wide disruption when local labor disputes arise. UPS’ vulnerability was illustrated by a 15-day strike in 1997 that brought significant disruption.

Lane argues that putting FedEx air workers under the NLRA is absurd, saying 85 percent of FedEx cargo moves by air while 85 percent of UPS’ cargo is still moved by truck.

“What they’re trying to do is treat us like a trucking company,” Lane said. “There are no stop signs at 30,000 feet.”

FedEx’s campaign includes distributing to media and business leaders a story that ran last month in The Washington Post about some UPS operations pulling workers aside to write letters to Congress in support of reclassifying rival FedEx’s work force.

FedEx said if UPS succeeds in Congress, it will cancel orders for Boeing 777 cargo freighters in anticipation of what it says will be costly harm to its business. FedEx, which employs about 5,000 at its second-largest U.S. hub at Indianapolis International Airport, says businesses will also pay the price in the form of less reliability due to labor disputes.



  • Fedex is very deceitful
    The reason why Federal Express can stay under the RLA is because they make there couriers sign contracts that they will have to abide by DOT Regulations. Once these couriers sign these contracts Fedex then use the couriers driver's license as a CDL license. The Fedex managers can check your driving record even if its on your own personal vehicle. When you report to your manager and tell them you got a summons on your own personal vehicle , the manager then goes on you driving record and put commercial driving next to the tickets. This is a sneaky tatic that they do to there couriers. I think you can sue them for altering a government document. This is how they get away with staying under the RLA Act.
  • I guess FedEx packages are delivered by flying trucks. FedEx has been abusing this loophole for decades. FedEx is shaking in their boots because of the piss poor treatment of employees. Now the employees have a chance to get a fair shake and they are scared.
    • This is just the unions trying to get political favors for supporting the Democrats in Washington. This clause, reclassifying all of FedEx's employees, and trying to unionize them is just a ploy to replenish the union's coffers after the loss of all the union jobs in this country.

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