Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

FedEx "contractors" for how much longer?

In December the IRS finally cracked down on FedEx for their practice of "contracting out" their drivers. (The case is still in court). FedEx has saved a lot of money by not having their drivers unionized. I have mixed feelings about the Teamsters Union. As a former UPS hub supervisor I have seen the dark side of the union... like the fight they put up against decent pay for package handlers because of the massive profit they make over their high turnover (thus keeping the $500 initiation fee, over and over). And the fact that as businesses have gone under in the "unionized pool", UPS is paying large amounts of money funding other company's retirees.

On the other hand, there is something to be said about the protective quality of a union: preventing the exploitation of drivers. And FedEx has been exploiting their drivers. These men and women do all the work of a driver but with much less support. For instance, they are responsible for their own maintenance and rental of "their" trucks. Last year FedEx paid out $253,000 to five MA drivers in order to settle unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

Currently the situation is very much in the air. It's a national issue, being played out heavily here in MA. On January 29th the Teamsters union pulled out of a vote for FedEx drivers to join the union: seemingly a FedEx victory. Three days later though, National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Boston gave the drivers the right to hold a secret-ballot election for a union. I can only speculate what all of that means, but the cards are folding on FedEx's unfair labor practices, and for that I'm glad.


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