- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Your editorial in support of Fed Ex Express’ contention that its package delivery drivers should continue to be classified as airline employees (“Express delivery in jeopardy,” Comment & Analysis, March 10) contains numerous errors of fact and logic.

In fact, these employees are truck drivers and like every other truck and package delivery driver in the United States, should be covered under the National Labor Relations Act. Right now, a loophole in the law gives FedEx a huge competitive advantage by placing the company under the Railway Labor Act, a law meant to cover pilots, mechanics and the like. FedEx uses this government “winner picking” to threaten or cajole customers into using it rather than competitors—on the grounds that strikes are almost impossible under the RLA. But the other 120,000 or so FedEx employees have been covered by the NLRA for years, and guess what? No strikes. History trumps hysteria.

Although you state that FedEx Express “does about 85 percent of its business by air,” in fact 100 percent of its packages move by truck. Does everyone bring packages to the FedEx airport office or receive them on the front stoop via airdrop? No, packages are picked up and delivered by FedEx truck drivers. Thats exactly why the company should, to use your words, “abide—or the first time ever—by labor laws meant for ground transportation.”

You state “a dozen workers in just one key city could, by striking, ground FedEx Express to a virtual halt nationwide.” This scenario is so farfetched as to make your argument nonsense. Did the snow storms this winter bring FedEx to a complete halt? No, because there is a lot of competence in the transportation industry. Work-arounds to all sorts of situations are devised daily by trucking and delivery companies.

Section 806 of the House FAA Reauthorization bill is not a sop to the United Parcel Service or the nation’s thousands of other trucking and package delivery companies, all of which operate under the NLRA. Further, there is no evidence that it will lead to automatic unionization of FedEx Express’ truck drivers—especially since FedEx is consistently rated as one of the best companies to work for. FedEx can’t have it both ways.

Sec. 806 takes the single outlier company in the entire country, FedEx Express, and places its drivers under the same law as all of its competitors. We at the newly formed Same3 Coalition have simple principles: Same Industry, Same Job, Same Rules. No exceptions, no government favoritism. That’s what constitutional government and the rule of law is all about, and that’s why Section 806 must be part of the final FAA bill.

KEVIN L. KEARNS

Director, Same3 Coalition

Washington

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