FedEx, UPS, and the FAARB


March 08, 2011


When Federal Express, usually a play yard buddy of UPS, found out that if the Federal Aviation Administration’s Reauthorization Bill [FAARB], now in its 16th temporary extension, gets the presidential sign-off, Federal Express may lose out on a highly cost-effective advantage over UPS.  The bill commands a shift of drivers and other non-airline workers from the National Railway Labor Act [RLA], where they currently reside within FedEx’s structure, to the National Labor Relations Act, the law governing UPS drivers.  FedEx was able to organize its workers under the FAARB because it was originally founded as an airline company.  The end result of this shift will enable FedEx workers to unionize locally under the NLRA, ultimately making it easier to unionize.  It will likely have far-reaching impact on the independent contractor categorization of FedEx drivers.

UPS contends that the bill “will appropriately provide equal treatment under labor law to employees performing the same functions at different companies, and will eliminate the special treatment currently given to Federal Express.”

Federal Express says this shift will “…expose our customers at any time to local work stoppages that interrupt the flow of their time-sensitive, high-value shipments through our global network.”

The playfield, once shared by these global monsters, is quaking with the rumble of battle, seen in aggressive media campaigns and advertisements.

As we watch the two carriers spar, we can only hope that if and when this bill passes, the result will be what is considered fair for the denizen of citizens scampering below their thumping limbs, not just their bottom lines.

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