Monday, July 13, 2009

Your editorial “The fate of FedEx” (Opinion, Thursday) mischaracterizes a House amendment to Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization. The bill is now before the Senate.

You describe the House amendment as a measure that would apply “only to FedEx Express.” This suggests that the House singled out FedEx Express for unfair treatment — an interpretation that is exactly backward.

FedEx Express has for years taken advantage of a loophole sneaked into legislation at the 11th hour. The loophole lets FedEx Express evade the labor law that its 46 competitors must follow. FedEx Express is the only company in the freight and package-delivery industry that is given such a preference. Congress is set to restore fairness even as the company resorts to threats and intimidation to keep its special status.

FedEx has a long history as a bad corporate actor. The company is fighting efforts by Congress to make it play by the same rules as its competitors. Meanwhile, it also misclassifies thousands of drivers in its Ground Division as independent contractors, forcing taxpayers to pick up the costs for their unemployment and health care. Last month, eight state attorneys general sent a letter to FedEx questioning the way it classifies its Ground Division drivers.

Now FedEx is leveraging American jobs and threatening to cancel a $7.7 billion contract with the Boeing Co. if Congress forces it to operate under the same rules as every other package-delivery company in the country.

FedEx undoubtedly will try again to win favored treatment by making lavish campaign contributions to lawmakers and touting its track record of appointing them to its board when they retire.

The Teamsters have seen firsthand how a company can be profitable and live up to its corporate obligations to take care of its workers. Many UPS employees are represented by unions and are earning good wages and benefits. UPS still delivers packages on time.

Frankly, I’m a little surprised that such an outspoken advocate of free-market economics as The Washington Times would side with FedEx on this issue. FedEx has long enjoyed the advantages of an uneven playing field. Now the Senate is considering a bill that could remove government interference from the freight and package-delivery industry and put all 47 competitors on an equal footing.

It’s time for Congress to restore fairness to the overnight package delivery industry and make sure that all competitors play by the same set of rules.


Vice president

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Charleston, W.Va.

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