Washington Times today with an editorial that makes me sick. The title: "Kneecapping FedEx -- FedEx Express is learning what could be the Democrats' economic motto -- 'Never Let Success Go Unpunished.' Led by Rep. James L. Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat, the House on May 21 passed legislation that contains an almost hidden provision -- a mere 230 words -- that would hobble FedEx Express. It would do so by completely changing the labor laws under which the company operates. Unless the Senate removes the language from the underlying bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, a mere dozen or so workers in just one city could hamstring much of the nation's overnight delivery service. We Americans take for granted that things can 'absolutely, positively ... be there overnight' -- but it took FedEx Express to make that so.
"FedEx Express is, of course, one of the great corporate success stories of modern times, having grown from a mere idea in a 1965 term paper by Yale University undergraduate Frederick W. Smith into a company essential to the workings of our modern economy. It is a little-known fact that FedEx contracts with the US Postal Service to carry almost all of its Express Mail and a large proportion of its Priority Mail." Did you know FedEx did that for the US Postal Service? They do.
"FedEx delivers huge amounts of needed supplies for American military forces, too -- and its service is just about the only way to guarantee that some lifesaving medicines reach patients overnight. Lawmakers have long recognized that certain sorts of transportation companies are the lifeblood of interstate commerce. That's why they wrote the Railway Labor Act to apply special labor-relations rules to railroads and, eventually, airline-based businesses such as FedEx Express. Since 1926, the RLA has provided successfully for means other than strikes to resolve labor disputes fairly and quickly, without favoring either side. The RLA does not, however, apply to non-rail, mostly ground-transportation companies such as the United Parcel Service. UPS instead is governed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the terms of which favor unions such as the Teamsters, which represents UPS drivers.
"Naturally, this means UPS and the Teamsters both have an interest in kneecapping FedEx Express. Together, the ground-delivery company and the union have executed what The Hill newspaper called a lobbying 'pincer movement' to transfer authority over FedEx Express from the RLA to the NLRA. ... Mr. Oberstar argues that he is merely trying to treat similar workers similarly. FedEx Express counters that it and UPS are very different companies. FedEx says it ships 85 percent of its goods by air, whereas UPS sends 85 percent of its goods by truck. UPS trying to squash FedEx Express is like Goliath sitting on David. Again using FedEx Express numbers, UPS has 425,000 employees in a business doing $49.7 billion in annual revenue, compared to FedEx Express' 143,000 employees and $22.7 billion in revenue.
"With UPS so much bigger than FedEx Express, it doesn't make sense to argue that 'Big Brown' somehow suffers a competitive disadvantage. Indeed, the latest earnings estimate for UPS shows growth from $2.37 to $2.90 per share, while FedEx Corp. has shown a decline from $1.26 to $0.31." Makes me sick, another one of these great US start-up companies about to be ruined by -- what else? -- the Democrat Party and unions. I remember the first time I went to Seattle. This is just a nothing little story, a nothing little story. The first time I went to Seattle was for a radio industry convention, and it was time to leave, and I got to the airport in Seattle. I guess it was about ten o'clock at night. As soon as I got out of the car I saw a FedEx DC-10 taking off, and I thought I was watching the American flag.
I really did. I got a little goose bump. I was proud. "There's a FedEx plane!" Because I knew the story of Fred Smith starting his company. Nothing against UPS, by the way. I use them, too. This is nothing against UPS. I'm not saying that they're bad. This editorial is exactly right: here is a successful business that does want to use unions. In fact, Fred Smith said if card check happens, it'll put him out of business. So here's the Democrat Party targeting another successful business for destruction, using union allies, all for the purpose of benefiting unions. Twelve people in every FedEx city could shut 'em down, and make sure that their promise of overnight delivery doesn't happen -- and then what happens to their business? Then it all goes to UPS or they shut down or what have you. And all of this is happening with nobody stopping them. And President Barack Obama leading and guiding the path on the destruction of the US private sector economy.
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