Using Unions As Weapons

UPS and FedEx face off in Congress instead of the marketplace.

Imagine two competing pizza delivery companies that are identical in every way except their delivery methods. Pizza Company A delivers its pizza by car and Pizza Company B delivers its pizza by bike.

Now imagine that the government has completely different labor laws for pizza parlors with cars and pizza parlors with bicycles. The result is much larger labor costs for Company B than Company A. Is that fair? Should the government care?

A similar situation underlies a vicious fight between United Parcel Service (UPS) and its main private competitor in the delivery business, FedEx, over archaic labor rules that classify the companies based on their favored forms of transportation. Because 85 percent of FedEx deliveries go by air and 85 percent of UPS deliveries go by truck, the two companies are obliged to obey different labor laws. 

FedEx Express, the company’s air delivery service, operates under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), instituted in 1926 to arbitrate labor disputes in industries (including, by 1936, airlines) that are deemed vital to interstate commerce. Under this law, in order to be recognized, a union must receive a majority of votes from all a company’s employees, rather than merely a majority of those who choose to vote. That makes it much more difficult for labor to organize. As a result, FedEx Express, and therefore FedEx, have been mostly union-free for decades.

 UPS, by contrast, operates under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA, commonly known as the Wagner Act). This Depression-era law allows unionization at each individualoffice of a national company, thereby significantly lowering the barriers to labor organizing. As a result, UPS is one of the largest unionized companies in the country. (Like UPS, the FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight divisions of FedEx are covered by the NLRA.)

This legal distinction has had a significant impact on the two competitors’ labor costs. Average compensation and benefit cost per employee at UPS is more than double that at FedEx—$74,413 vs. $29,310. (See table.)

By now, UPS has had enough of the extra costs labor unions impose on its business. To tackle the problem, Big Brown teamed up with the very people responsible for the costs: the Teamsters. Working together, they’ve lobbied the Democratic majority in Congress to transfer approximately 100,000 of FedEx’s employees—basically the ground pickup and delivery operations of FedEx Express—to fall under the Wagner Act. The change would make it easier for these employees to unionize, which would raise FedEx’s labor costs.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) inserted language changing FedEx’s labor status into a reauthorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 277 to 136 in May, over FedEx’s objections. The measure is now awaiting passage in the Senate.

Committee members who supported the amendment claimed they wanted to create a level playing field between the two companies. “It’s an issue of fundamental fairness,” Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) told Roll Call. “The workers, and most importantly consumers, would be better served.”

It’s interesting that these lawmakers think leveling the playing field needs to take the form of giving more, not less, power to unions. Where were they back when UPS was trying to be reclassified under the Railway Labor Act?

In 1993 UPS argued to the NRL Board that all of its activities, “including ground operations,” should be subject to the RLA “because the ground operations are part of the air service.” Whatever you think of the Railway Labor Act, the law was intended to protect the arteries of commerce and to ensure that any bargaining agreement for employees be the same throughout the entire company, so that no local unit could paralyze the entire company. It was designed for companies that primarily use rail and air in conducting or facilitating interstate commerce. In that sense, FedEx, with its integrated system, probably has a stronger claim to be an RLA company than UPS does. Yet according to Washington Post columnist George Will, “FedEx supported UPS’s efforts, even though the vast majority of UPS parcels never go on an airplane, whereas FedEx’s trucking operations exist to feed its air fleet and distribute what it carries.” UPS’s demand was denied, opening the path to today’s battle.

Rather than continue pushing for reclassification, or just competing fair and square under current law, UPS is using the federal government to inflict damage on its competition. While this maneuver is hardly commendable, it is predictable. In their 2004 book Saving Capitalism From the Capitalists, economists Raghuram G. Rajan and Luigi Zingales of the Chicago Booth School of Business brilliantly describe this Washingtoncentric way of competing. “Capitalism’s biggest political enemies are not the firebrand trade unionists spewing vitriol against the system,” they warn, “but the executives in pin-striped suits extolling the virtues of competitive markets with every breath while attempting to extinguish them with every action.”

Yet unions do play an important part in this comedy. Teamsters gave $2.4 million to Democrats during the 2008 federal election season and are now collecting the rewards. While it’s tempting to see this as the last gasp of sputtering private-sector unionism—whose share of the U.S. private work force, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has plummeted from 36 percent in 1953 to 7 percent today—that would, alas, be incorrect.

For the first time in well over a decade, unions have both a strong ally in the White House and a Democrat-controlled Congress. At press time, members of Congress were negotiating a version of the misleadingly named Employee Free Choice Act, which would impose compulsory arbitration on private companies that can’t reach agreement with their unions. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is eliminating reporting requirements that forced some transparency on unions—notably the LM-30 Rule, which required union officials to report conflicts of interest, and the LM-2 rule, which required disclosure of financial information and information about labor leaders’ compensation. And the president has pushed through labor-friendly takeovers of Michigan’s auto industry.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Meanwhile, the Obama administration is eliminating reporting requirements that forced some transparency on unions-notably the LM-30 Rule, which required union officials to report conflicts of interest, and the LM-2 rule, which required disclosure of financial information and information about labor leaders' compensation.

    Just more proof of how the media slants left. Imagine the uproar if a Republican had run on "transparency" and then eliminated conflict of interest and compensation reporting requirements for CEOs. If the Republicans are smart they'll make a campaign ad for 2010 out of this, but I never bet on Republicans being smart.

  • Rimfax||

    I liked Vonnegut's original "Harrison Bergeron" better than this remake.

  • ||

    It's a good thing this article is online because it wouldn't be worth the paper it otherwise would be be printed on. It's filled with misinformation at best. For example what does "main private competitor" mean? Are you calling Fed Ex a privately owned company? If so, go look up the ticker symbol FDX and tell me what their PUBLICLY held share price is. You should check your facts about how packages get there too. We (UPS) operate the fourth largest ariline in the world. I'm pretty sure we're putting a lot of packages on all those planes. No matter what you call us you can't call or clasify us as anything different.We're not and that's what this is all about. FAIRNESS PERIOD!!

  • ||

    Unionized UPS is kicking non-union FDX's ass.

    $3.6 billion in net income vs. $1.1 billion?

    (with only 1.5x the number of employees)

    FDX needs to hit Corker and Alexander up for some anti-union payback.

  • Cal Lipigian||

    EC,

    Private as opposed to government run, like the USPS.

  • Jordan||

    Unionized UPS is kicking non-union FDX's ass.



    Just imagine how bad it will be when it's unionized UPS vs. unionized FDX.

  • ||

    Poor Ed Collins. It's pretty easy to read between the lines of his post.

  • ||

    The public option will compete fairly with private insurers, just the USPS competes fairly with fedex...

  • Colonel_Angus||

    A "publicly traded company" is still privately owned in the sense that it is not owned and operated by the government at taxpayer expense. The postal service is a true example of a publicly owned operation. Dumb ass.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    We (UPS) operate the fourth largest ariline in the world.

    So then if UPS is really an airline why wouldn't you (UPS) try to reclassify as one if this whole thing is about fairness?

    And having a shit load of planes does not mean they are being used exclusively for express package forwarding. Maybe in the overseas market most of the packages are transported by aircraft, but I'm pretty sure most of the domestic packages are transported by truck (and truck trailers put on intermodal trains). The planes are probably often chartered for bulk shipments of time sensitive freight.

  • ||

    What a shitty battle being fought by shitty people. Aynone want to bet on which group of fucktards can lobby the other to death first?

  • Chad||

    Remind me to never use FedEx again. Since I have never noticed a significant difference in price or service, I would vastly prefer that a few hundred thousand Americans have decent, middle-class jobs delivering my packages than be working poor whom I probably have to subsidize through taxes anyway.

  • ||

    It's state capitalism in action. All that money lost to a more productive use, spend buying ... okay, renting ... Congresscritters. What is the total dollar cost, do you suppose, of all of the rent-seeking, politician-bribing, boot-licking and ass-kissing that passes for "informed business management and leadership"? Can you possibly imagine a more constructive or productive use for that amount of money? How could the economy possibly function, in the absence of all that? Probably quite well, particularly in the absence of the convenience of other aspects of state capitalism, like, e.g., immortal corporate-form companies with limited liability for actual people. Naw, that wouldn't be ... wouldn't be ... wouldn't be convenient for the government and their buddies. Having genuinely independent sheep - you know, the ones who act like sheep dogs instead of mutton? - is rarely of any benefit to the shepards. Tired yet of being sheep? No, I suppose not, since many of the comments here are about how mutton ought to be prepared, what spices are best, whether the flocks ought to be raised for wool or for meat, how best to feed and corral them, etc. Baaaah!

  • Tim||

    Chad, where is your compassion for those folks who don't produce enough value to get hired at a higher union wage?

    Unions benefit some workers at the expense of others by definition, and often at the expense of consumers.

  • Enyap||

    "Unionized UPS is kicking non-union FDX's ass"

    So, if unions aren't that bad for a company, then why is UPS so determined to force it on Fedex.

  • ||

    "So, if unions aren't that bad for a company, then why is UPS so determined to force it on Fedex."

    Nobody is forcing anything. All that is being discussed is allowed FedEx to unionize *if they want*. If FedEx treats its employees fairly and pays a fair wage, the employees won't want a union. Simple as that.

  • ||

    Not so simple. Do you really believe that the Teamsters are just going to sit on their hands and not agitate for more dues-paying members?

  • ||

    "Not so simple. Do you really believe that the Teamsters are just going to sit on their hands and not agitate for more dues-paying members?"

    Of course they will. The Jehovas Witness visit me every few months but I'm not interested in what they are offering. If what the Teamsters offer isn't appealing, then there won't be a union at FDX. Simple.

  • ||

    The Teamsters=Jehoviah Witnesses?!

    Only serious brainwashing could result in such a conclusion.

  • ||

    There are more ways to go about unionizing than asking nicely. I don't think the teamsters (or any other union) would just ask politely and leave it at that. Especially if they have the opportunity to do it one bit at a time.

  • ||

    Since I have never noticed a significant difference in price or service

    You're kidding right? UPS has lost stuff for me. Fedex never has and I know exactly where the package is at all times.

    There is nothing to stop people from joining the union at Fedex if they choose. Yet when they can't be forced, they do not in any large number. Perhaps they prefer to keep compensation instead of pay dues?

    Why do you think it's ethical to force them?

  • Cap\'n NoStar||

    The feud is just a rouge to hide the secret merger negotiations between FedEx and UPS.

    The new company will be called FedUP.

  • ||

    "Why do you think it's ethical to force them?"

    Please cite the portion of the proposed changes that force a union. You can't, because there is no 'force' to any of this.

  • ||

    I'm a little disappointed at the turn this discourse is taking. UPS is going to try to level the playing field in any way it can to keep competitive. If the government won't change their classification to the Classification FedEx has, then it would level the playing field if FedEx played by the same rules as UPS. That's just business. But the demonizing of unions as if they're a scourge being used on FedEx ... that's just ridiculous.

    "Unions benefit some workers at the expense of others by definition, and often at the expense of consumers." How do you rationalize that? Unions tend to drive up wages and benefits for non-unionized employees as companies need to keep competitive to attract workers.

    "So, if unions aren't that bad for a company, then why is UPS so determined to force it on Fedex" UPS isn't and couldn't 'force' a union on FedEx. It's still up to the workers if they want to unionize or not. The change of classification makes it a little more difficult for FedEx to put pressure on the workforce to keep it from unionizing. UPS is assuming that given the opportunity the union workers will chose to unionize or that FedEx will have to increase compensation in order to remain competative. Given that the current classification of FedEx makes it more difficult for a union take hold in the company and UPS is so confident that the FedEx workers will unionize. Plus the difference in overhead for an employee ... it's not a big leap to conclude that FedEx is currently NOT paying fair and competative compensation to their workforce. Is it such a rotten thing for a workforce to want to make a fair wage?

    I don't know if this is true but it would make sense that as the economy has been going downhill, it's been a 'buyers market' for employers. Employers have a larger pool of people from which to choose employees and that pool is more desperate to get a job ... any job in some cases. I'd think in that kind of environment it would be much easier for companies to 'break' unions and take back unilateral control from their employees. That's a more likely reason for the decline of union 'marketshare' in recent history, I think, than it is that unions have gone out of vogue for some reason.

  • ||

    Please cite the portion of the proposed changes that force a union. You can't, because there is no 'force' to any of this.

    If they are reclassified at each installation the teamsters can force them if they can manage to get a simple plurality of votes. Technically this means that a properly rigged election could force a shop with just one vote.

    So, again what is the ethical justification? What is the government interest? Why cannot people join or not join unions as they please? Why are you so keen to force people to do as you like?

  • steve||

    The current FAA funding bill has given Fedex a special consideration since 1994.The new bill before congress only removes that special consideration.Only fair right?

  • ||

    Faithkills, don't you think you're making a bit of a leap with rigged elections and the ability to force anything with 'just one vote'? If I'm not mistaken there are companies where they are partly unionized. Indeed I used to work for one.

    That's the entire point. People should be able to join a union or not as they please. FedEx has been able to stop that from happening due to their special dispensation for being an 'airline'.

  • ||

    No I am not making a leap, that's entirely possible, if not likely. What benefit is this to anyone but the union itself? Why do this at all?

    People should be able to join a union or not as they please. FedEx has been able to stop that from happening due to their special dispensation for being an 'airline'.

    Completely wrong. They are free to join a union now, and some are union members.

    Again what is the justification to force people to join unions? Or more specifically, and worse, pay unions regardless of whether they join or not?

    How is that not theft?

  • ||

    all i got to say is i feel bad for those FedEx employees making half the amount as UPS folk doin the same job. who cares about the companies? they're all owned by rich a*holes anyways. The only stock i ever owned was in my 401k that just went down the s***ter. Seems like getting organized makes alot more sense now than it did in the 90s. All the richies are getting hand outs. Where the h*ll is mine? we are the ones paying for it after all.

  • ||

    You need to think things through. #1 unions are businesses, too, that essentially sell labor to business and 'protection' to workers. There's nothing wrong with unions per se, but when they use the bludgeon of government to gain unfair advantage it is a problem just as it was when employers used to do the same.. which was one of the causes of unions to form in the first place.

    If fedex employess want to join the teamsters there is nothing stopping them. Should fedex get reclassified then the teamsters will likely be able to pull off a coup, because they have more resources than Fedex. In which case they may or may not help employees but they definitely will take money for themselves. Either way competition will be reduced and prices will go up.. for you, which reduces your share of the 'pie' and for every business which ships things, which is most, and all those costs will be passed on to you, the consumer, further reducing your share.

    All of this cost not because someone fairly offered a better product that afforded greater value and could demand a higher prices, but because some lobbyists bought government influence.

    Now if you want more money you have to work harder, better, or more, for it. Unless you can afford lobbyists.

    The rich a**holes you are worried about can afford to buy government. You cannot. The rich a**holes will not pay and never will pay for what is sold to you as a great idea to help 'the little guy'.

    You will pay.

    You, ignoring the fact that the history of big government is the history of big business, think giving government more power will turn you from prey into predator, that's not the way it works, or will ever work.

    You are the livestock. You may want to consider one day that it might be a good idea to keep asking the ranchers to build bigger fences and fancier slaughterhouses.

  • ||

    Faithkills, how is the bludgeon of government not on the other foot for FedEx right now. Government regulation is what's stopping the union from 'taking over' as you say. You also seem to forget that UPS is already union. They manage to compete with FedEx on what is currently an un-level playing field.

    And to say that it's going to be forced on people because the union will likely commit fraud is not only unfounded but nearly libel. I'm sorry, but I dismiss your argument because you're assuming a crime that hasn't even been committed much less have any proof.

    If FedEx employees want to unionize there IS something stopping them if I understand the regulation correctly. In order to make the company abide by federal union negotiation laws, the workers need a majority of all workers. If I'm not mistaken that includes the workforce, middle management and upper management. Getting a union started in a non-union environment is not as easy as you make it sound. And that's before you consider the substantial pressure an employer can put on the workforce not to go union.

    Unions are not perfect and are prone to bureaucracy and even corruption but you're wrong about something else. If you want to make more money, you can't always just work harder. To a large business workers are overhead. In non-skilled trades workers are disposable overhead. Don't believe me? Ever seen customer service at a FastFood Resturaunt? You're paid equally no matter how hard you work and the only way to make more is to leave to a higher paying job somewhere else or work longer hours.

    Your analogy of livestock is oddly appropriate. Sure, alone you can be led to the slaughterhouse no matter how much you resist. But if all of the livestock stops and says, "Buddy, we're NOT going in there" then the owner might want to consider changing the way he's doing business.

  • ||

    Gah, bad typist.

    ... are AS prone to bureaucracy and corruption as any organization but ...

  • ||

    Faithkills, how is the bludgeon of government not on the other foot for FedEx right now. Government regulation is what's stopping the union from 'taking over' as you say.

    What are you talking about? The government is not keeping the union out of Fedex. The employees are. They just don't want to join the Teamsters. Again why do you think it's ethical or even a good idea to force them?

    And to say that it's going to be forced on people because the union will likely commit fraud is not only unfounded but nearly libel.

    I didn't say they will likely commit fraud. In fact I specifically said it was not likely. Why do you find it necessary to lie? Especially when the reader merely has to scroll up to see the lie?

    If you want to make more money, you can't always just work harder.

    True, because someone else is lobbying government to give them an unfair advantage.

    In general you should consider that the issue of 'income disparity' is entirely an artifact of managed markets. People have to be restricted from free trade in various ways in order to maintain drastically different wealth levels. Note simple free societies do not have this.

    For example.. why do bankers and doctors make so much money? Because the government provides institutional theft/taxation for banks, and a government enforced monopoly for doctors. Insurance companies? They buy favorable regulations from states and indemnity from the commerce clause from DC. It's all at the foot of government.

    But you want more.

    And you think it will be used for you.

    In order to make the company abide by federal union negotiation laws, the workers need a majority of all workers.

    Oh yes.. I know what they want is an unfair an unfair negotiation advantage. But you don't need the force of government to have a strike. You need government to get an unfair advantage. That's all government can do.

    Unions are corporations just like any other. As such they deserve no more nor less special treatment than any other corporation.

    But if all of the livestock stops and says, "Buddy, we're NOT going in there" then the owner might want to consider changing the way he's doing business.

    But you're doing the exact opposite of that. The rancher has convinced you that it's the fault of someone else that he has to lead you to the abattoir.

  • mh||

    The companies should operate under the same sets of regulations. Nobody is being forced to join the union. I'm a non-union employee of UPS, and no one has ever tried to force me join the union.

  • ||

    You either didn't read what you are replying or you are confused.

    Unless you work in a RTW state you pay union dues.

  • mh||

    I read the article and I'm not confused. My state has a right-to-work policy, and I was wrong in believing that that was the norm. Now I realize that it isn't. But you should recognize that in the 22 right-to-work states, people will have a choice, instead of generalizing as if those states didn't exist. I would certainly support extending right-to-work laws to all states, while I have nothing against voluntary unions.

  • ||

    I have nothing against voluntary unions, but that's not what this is about.

    Putting fedex under the NLRA would just restrict the rights of more employees. Yes 22 states have some protection but that doesn't make it reasonable to screw employees the other 28.

    What should happen is the NLRA should apply to UPS, well what should happen is both bills go away.

  • ||

    Some definitions to help.

    United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) is a package delivery company. The Company delivers packages each business day for 1.8 million shipping customers to 6.1 million consignees in over 200 countries and territories. During the year ended December 31, 2008, UPS delivered an average of 15.5 million pieces per day worldwide, or a total of 3.92 billion packages. Its primary business is the time-definite delivery of packages and documents worldwide. UPS operates in three segments: U.S. Domestic Package operations, International Package operations, and Supply Chain & Freight operations. U.S. Domestic Package operations include the time-definite delivery of letters, documents, and packages throughout the United States. International Package operations include delivery to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Supply Chain & Freight includes its forwarding and logistics operations, UPS Freight, and other related business units.

    FedEx Corporation (FedEx) is a holding company. The Company provides a portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services through companies that compete collectively, operate independently and manage collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. These companies are included in four business segments: FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Services. Federal Express Corporation (FedEx Express) is the express transportation company, offering time-certain delivery within one to three business days. FedEx Ground provides day-certain service to every business address in the United States and Canada, as well as residential delivery through FedEx Home Delivery. Effective June 1, 2009, Caribbean Transportation Services, Inc. (CTS), a provider of airfreight forwarding services between the United States and Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and the Caribbean Islands, was merged with and into FedEx Express.

    There is quite a bit of confusion about what each company does. If you look closely they both deliver a wide portfolio of packages classified simply as air and ground. I won't go into the other things but they both offer relatively comparable services.

    FedEx and UPS both fly air packages and deliver them in vehicles on the ground. The operation really isn't very different between the two.

    The rub is not the ground delivery portions of the businesses so don't be confused by that. The argument lies with those employees who work in the FedEx air operations.

    So some more details to help. Air packages in both companies are picked up by drivers in trucks (not planes). The UPS drivers are unionized the FedEx drivers are typically not. They are then dropped off at a sorting facility, this facility is used in both companies for ground and air packages. The employees at UPS are unionized and in some cases at FedEx they are not. Sometimes air packages go to air hubs which to be honest I am not sure if UPS or FedEx employees are unionized at these locations. They are flown by both companies to their destinations and may go through air hubs again UPS hubs are unionized FedEx are not. The pilots for both companies are governed by the same labor laws. The packages are unloaded at a hub or an air sort by again employees at UPS unionized at FedEx not. They are delivered by drivers UPS unionized FedEx not.

    What the law aims to change is the enequitable application of the labor law. Either both employees of UPS and FedEx are unionized in certain cases or they are not. Clearly the government thinks that in all cases UPS employees are governed under the NRLA except for the pilots which fly the planes. The question really is, "Why do employees that perform the same functions fall under two separate labor laws?" The only difference, the company they work for. At some marginal level this law is about people. People who work for both companies want to see their company succeed. That is why they fight so aggressively, they should it is their livelihood. It will also be eventually about the FedEx drivers who if the law is in fact passed will receive a fatty pay bump and be paid similar to all the rest of the parcel and freight delivery drivers in the United States. Honestly there are a lot of other delivery companies out there other than FedEx and UPS. We just hear about these two giants because of the high profile.

    The law isn't about UPS and it really isn't about FedEx. There is some money from both sides of the lobby fence. FedEx and the CEO Fred Smith has taken it out of the friendly realm and started a smear campaign, go them I guess. Media is media. The reason why there is lobby money involved is because this would be considered a beneficial law if passed in UPS' eyes. It, however, would mean higher labor costs for FedEx if passed thus the aggressive lobbying.

    It is silly to compare FedEx to a bike company and UPS to a car company when clearly both companies use the exact same equipment, deliver packages in a similar fashion, and utilize an interchangeable labor force.

    It would be like saying Ford Trucks and Toyota Trucks are not the same kind of car because one is a Ford and the other is Toyota.

  • ||

    The obvious is that the third business in the game is the union.

    They have a more unfair advantage over UPS so the union 'solution' is to give them an an unfair advantage over Fedex.

    Not to mention the unfair advantage unions has over workers.

    No to all of it.

  • ||

    Faithkills -
    "I didn't say they will likely commit fraud. In fact I specifically said it was not likely. Why do you find it necessary to lie? Especially when the reader merely has to scroll up to see the lie?"

    Reference:
    "No I am not making a leap, that's entirely possible, if not likely. What benefit is this to anyone but the union itself? Why do this at all?"

    Either you're confused or bad with grammar. What you said here is that if it's not likely, it's at least possible.

  • ||

    So in Amnee short bus world:

    "not likely" == "likely"

    You must be a product of public education.

  • ||

    I can see how you might think that's what you meant. Out of context you'd be right that not likely means not likely. But you didn't SAY not likely. You said 'if not ... likely'. Please see: http://punctilious.org/grammar.....ogs527.htm Second post down on where it gives the example were 'if not' means the same as 'maybe even'.

    I know the context can be confusing. But I'm sure someday you'll actually understand the language. I believe in you.

    BTW. You forgot the possessive 's in AhmNee's.

  • ||

    The employer always has the upper hand especially when speaking of corporations. Union negotiation guidelines are there to see to it the business negotiates in good faith. We're in an age where CEOs make several thousand times what their lowest paid worker does (as opposed to as recent as the 1950s where the figure was around fifty times), salaried employees are 'expected to work at least 40 hours a week' (as opposed to working the hours you need to in order to do your job, some weeks 35, some 60) and bonus' are given out to employees who can bilk employees out of their retirements.

    I'd say that we're in an era where unions are needed more than ever. Not less.

  • ||

    The employer always has the upper hand especially when speaking of corporations.

    What makes you think this? There's no evidence of this.

    Both parties want something from the other. When markets are free, both parties have the same options.. associate voluntarily or not.. or associate with someone else.

    We're in an age where CEOs make several thousand times what their lowest paid worker does

    Good. You recognize this is a problem. If you understood why then you might possibly start to understand what should be done. (or rather undone)

    Wealth is resources. Income is rate of acquisition of wealth. In a free market wealth disparity tends to evaporate, much less income. For income to be so diverse that means there are market forcings, and that means government.

    Wealth needs government to maintain wealth.

    Persistent income diversity is the hallmark of government market forcings.

    You think that the answer is more government that (this time for sure!) won't be usurped by wealth.

    That will never happen.

  • ||

    The employer always has the upper hand especially when speaking of corporations.

    How? They both have the same option, associate with each other or associate with someone else.

    I'd say that we're in an era where unions are needed more than ever.

    You're as confused as the right who thinks unions are bad.

    Unions are fine. It's the government giving one business (the union) an unfair advantage over another business (the employer) and an unfair advantage over the employee (who must pay dues or an association fee) whether he wants to or not.

    If people want to join unions they should be free to. If people do not want to then they should not be compelled to.

    If people want to bargain as a group that's swell.

    A union is just a business and if it's those evil CEO's you're so worried about you might want to check into how union bosses live, in jobs that are far more secure. CEO's get the axe if they don't perform.

    Unions as protected by the government have however become little more than parasites.

    A more beneficial business model for the worker would be fee for service. The legitimate purpose of union is nominally bargaining expertise. If employees feel abused they should hire a union to bargain and then be paid for the service. Instead they remain as fleas on the worker.

  • ||

    As is always the case, the party with the money has the upperhand. In this case, the employer. The employer has the option to fire every employee who wishes to negotiate his/her wage and that tends to instill a fear of losing your job in others because a crappy paying job pays the bills better than no job at all. Unions force the employer onto a more level playing ground and let the workers bargain relatively without fear of losing their jobs.

    A union is not just a business as their leadership is elected. If your CEO doesn't want to give out raises, you can't elect him out next year. Yes, union leaders make decent wages but they only get to do so as long as the workers want to keep them as their union leader.

    You also forget that unions typically are the carriers of the health insurance and pension of their members. That way a member can leave a less desirable job for a better one without having to worry that the retirement they've been building will just disappear.

    Forcing employees to pay dues whether they want to unionize or not doesn't seem true, either. But I'm not that familiar with that area. But I have worked for companies that were not fully unionized. Some departments were union, others were not. So my gut reaction is that you're overstating things.

    I know that unions are not perfect. Ideally there would be more internal oversite and a better, more interactive method of member participation in union policy. But the American workforce is a lot better off with the influence of unions making wages and benefits resemble something like fair compensation than we would be without them.

    BTW. I am not a union employee. Never have been. But I know what value they provide whether I am or not.

  • ||

    The employer has the option to fire every employee who wishes to negotiate his/her wage and that tends to instill a fear of losing your job in others because a crappy paying job pays the bills better than no job at all.

    Just as every employee has the option to quit. So what? People shall either be free to associate as they will or not.

    If I start a business do you think you have a right to work for me?

    You also forget that unions typically are the carriers of the health insurance and pension of their members.

    Right, both businesses, the employer business and the union business use their government access to force employees to be dependent.

    Forcing employees to pay dues whether they want to unionize or not doesn't seem true, either.

    It's true, and perhaps you might lend more to the discussion if you knew what you were talking about. If you aren't in a RTW state and you refuse to join and pay dues or pay non member 'association fee' then you may be fired. The union will request it and the employer is contract bound to do so.

    Again the problem is not the unions. It's the government intervening on their behalf.

  • ||

    "Just as every employee has the option to quit. So what? People shall either be free to associate as they will or not."

    That would be true if we lived in a perfect world where jobs were plentiful and employers concentrated more on paying employees a fair wage for the work they do instead of just their bottom line. The reality is that jobs are scarce and that many people don't have the luxury to change jobs when that job doesn't suit them. It gets even more complicated when children are involved.

    "If I start a business do you think you have a right to work for me?"

    Absolutely not. If you were an employer: Do you feel you have the right to cut my wage if business is bad? Do you feel that if your company is in the red, you can fire an employee who is approaching retirement so you can save more money and keep in the black? Do you feel you can fire me if you change my shift and I can't work those hours? Do you feel that, because it's your business, you should be able to pay your employees whatever you feel like it and they should be happy to have a job at all?

    "the employer business and the union business use their government access to force employees to be dependent"

    Well, that's your opinion. I don't share it. Union healthcare and pension release a worker from their dependance on their employer. Does that lock the person into the union? Usually, but a union is still a democracy with elected leaders. If you don't like the way things work in the union, you have a voice to change things. You don't have that option in your workplace.

    "It's true, and perhaps you might lend more to the discussion if you knew what you were talking about."

    I don't have to know every facet of how a union runs to discuss their worth or add perspective to a discussion. Your suggestion that I do is wrong headed, assinine and condecending. Not to mention hypocritical. You didn't cop the RTW states existance until someone else brought it up earlier, making your argument inappicable to nearly half the states in the union.

    "Again the problem is not the unions. It's the government intervening on their behalf."

    This from the person who just called unions parasites and fleas. You're very inconsistant in how you express your views. It leads me to believe you really don't know where you stand, yourself.

  • ||

    The reality is that jobs are scarce and that many people don't have the luxury to change jobs when that job doesn't suit them.

    If jobs are scarce then go into the employment business. Oh but wait.. the 'progressive' tax system, and millions of pages of regulations are designed to impede that and protect big businesses entrenched position.

    So lets do more eh? This time it'll work for sure!

    Do you feel you have the right to cut my wage if business is bad?

    Yes. Do you feel like you have the right to quit and go to a better paying job?

    Well, that's your opinion. I don't share it.

    It's not my opinion, it's history. Read some.

    Union healthcare and pension release a worker from their dependance on their employer.

    And exchanges it for dependence on the union, the government, and the employer. Nice job!

    You didn't cop the RTW states existance until someone else brought it up earlier

    I didn't 'cop' to RTW (which I am sure you would love to get rid of) because nothing I said depended on their existence. Until you lied accusing me of saying something I didn't say.

    It leads me to believe you really don't know where you stand, yourself.

    My ideas are entirely consistent. I think freedom is the best and natural way to best address the problems that collectivism has created.

    Note that incomes have become more diverse as government has gotten larger. Coorporations have become more powerful as government has gotten larger. Upward mobility decreases as government gets bigger. This isn't just the US, this is in every country.

    These are not unrelated.

    Connect some dots ffs.

    If you aren't really a corporatist shill, and you are a well meaning Keynesaid drinking NPRbot then you probably share my goal of income and power de-diversication.

    So yes, I tend to return condescension, especially to someone who might be smart enough to connect the dots but doesn't bother.

    'Your' way has been shown not to work and it's not even 'your' way, it's the way of the Oligarchs that is sold to you as 'yours'.

    Big money needs big government. You want to give them more big government.

    The red pills are out out there, friend. Once you understand economics the rest falls into place.

  • ||

    Faithkills is making solid points. When he says changing FedEx would/could lead to forcing Unions on the workers who don't want it, he's correct. If changed to UPS rules, they would not need a majority of workers to demand a union. They would only need a majority of the amount that could vote. Now that means that if only 10% of the company votes, you only need 5.001% of the company to vote pro union, and then it's forced on the other 94.999% (barring RTW states) Granted this is an extreme, but it doesn't make sense to put the entire company at the whim of a plurality of workers. On top of that, while Faith won't or only in passing calls into account the righteousness of the unions, I'll do it directly. They will intimidate, coerce, buyoff whatever it takes to get a union in if they have to. Then, they'll remember who was against them and make their lives hell if the union passes. That's not libel, that's recognizing a pattern. Big Labor, just like Big Business and Big Gov't are all corrupt. The problem with both left and right is they get in one corner and argue which is more virtuous. I will go out on a limb and say that Faithkills like me, stands athwart all of them, saying their all corrupt, and the more power you give to either of the three entities, means the worker gets screwed.

  • ||

    Let's not forget another giveaway to Big Labor by the Obama Administration.

    In Feb, President Obama signed Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to require project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects exceeding $25 million.

    PLAs discourage competition from non-union contractors by requiring that a construction project be awarded only to contractors agreeing to recognize unions as representatives of their employees. Among other unfair restrictions, PLAs force non-union contractors to pay union dues and contribute to union pension funds their employees will never benefit from unless they join a union. PLAs discriminate against the majority (over 84%) of construction workers in this country who are non-unionized. The expensive union work rules and reduced competition increase construction costs.

    Construction unions meanwhile funneled millions of dollars to the Obama campaign and other Democrats in exchange for an unfair advantage(via PLAs) over quality competitors for lucrative federal contracts (more than $140 billion in ARRA is devoted to construction spending).

    Big Labor can't compete in the free market so they have asked for government intervention.

    This Executive Order flirts with corruption. You can learn more at www.TheTruthAboutPLAs.com

  • ||

    11/28/2009

    Dear Teamsters,

    I would like to give you a brief description of events that I hope help support your reasoning for the unionization of FedEx. I was formally a UPS employee. I made the life altering mistake of accepting a promotion to Management with UPS. After a few years I was forced to resign due to my divorce causing me to become a single parent. Those series of events I would gladly explain at another time.

    After being unemployed for nearly a year I was working as a manager trainee at a local Jiffy Lube. Realizing my job had no future I continued to seek a better job. A friend of mine knew a FedEx contractor who was very interested in hiring a former UPS driver. I met the contractor and presented him with my resume’. He was impressed with my nearly 8 years with the company and being on the safety committee most of those years.

    He asked me what I needed in salary to come aboard his team of drivers. I explained that I was making 40,000/ year at Jiffy Lube and was not able to provide a comfortable living for my son and girlfriend who is pregnant. I clearly explained that 45,000/ year would be a good start. He explained that with my management background he could do better and offer me a management position with him as he grows from 6 routes to 10 routes in the very near future. This would pay between 45,000-50,000/year to start. I accepted his offer and quit jiffy lube.

    After a long background check from FedEx I was finally approved to drive for the contractor. I called him to ask when and where I could start. He called me after 8:00 P.M. and said I want you to ride with another driver for a while to learn the FedEx standards and use of the scanner. He also said by the way I want you to know I am starting you at $550 a as a trainee’s salary. Once I learned a route I would go up to the agreed 45,000/ year salary. I had already quit Jiffy Lube and it was the night before I was to start, I had no choice but to accept the new surprise.

    I basically started as a helper for a driver that hurt his foot. He taught me “his” way of doing things. I rode with this driver for 2 weeks at $550 / week salary with no intention of me learning this route, no intention of me paying me more. I then was placed with a driver that had given his 2 weeks notice so I was finally going to learn a route so I could make a better income. After two weeks the driver was gone and I was running the route. For two weeks on my own I never miss delivered a package or had any other errors at all. I stayed at the $550 /week salary. After those 2 weeks the route was combined with another route and I was a trainee all over again learning the new section of my route.

    To make this letter a little shorter here is what I have experienced in a nut shell:

    • My first paycheck was in pure cash, no check stub or tax withholdings and it was 3 days late. My second check was also cash but only half of it 1 day late and the rest the following Thursday because he had to make his truck payment. All the following checks have been with a stub but no check still cash and a different amount then the check would have been.
    • My truck has a broken mirror and a bulkhead door that wont close yet I am instructed to check “No Defects” on the DVIR. The mirror was to be fixed 2 weeks ago.
    • I asked a management person for a guide book on the scanner and was told I don’t work for them so I have to get one from the contractor I work for. I still have not received my book after asking almost every day for 4 weeks.
    • I wash my uniform every night, Contractor failed to get me uniforms when I started. I have only 1 pair of shorts and 2 shirts.
    • I am given 40 or 50 Dollars every day to put fuel in truck because my contractor is on credit hold with the local gas station. I sat at a gas station for almost 2 hours waiting to meet the contractor for fuel money. The truck was so empty it stalled.
    • I am salary so the route plans a 10 hour day every day. Lunch break is not factored into the day.
    • The contractor does not offer health insurance, retirement or any benefits at all.
    • The route I am on is up for sale and I may or may not be allowed to stay with route. If I stay with route I will work for the purchasing contractor. If I stay with the contractor that hired me I will have to learn another route giving more excuses to keep me at this surprised training salary.
    • Every time I go to FedEx management I am told I work for the contractor not them.
    • As far as working as a manager for this contractor who wants to grow to 10 routes, he is downsizing to 4 routes in a week or so.

    Please work hard to unionize FedEx ground so I may get an honest days pay for an host days work.

    Sincerely,

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets

  • ||

    There are problems on both sides of this story. The need for transparency within the unions and the reporting of conflicts of interest should remain as part of the law. The playing field does need to be leveled. It seems to me that the major problem in this country has been control of the government by the top executives of corporations more than by labor unions. These executives have used the power of the corporation to hire lobbies to influence congress and have been effective enough to have regulations removed and laws change so that their companies have become increasingly more profitable. The result has been that these executives have taken incredible increases in salaries and bonuses with not benefit to the workers of the companies and not enough reinvestment to keep many of the companies competitive. They have managed to control congress to the point that their greed is destroying our country and we no longer have the one man one vote democracy that existed 30 years ago. They have even managed to lower the taxes on gains they have gotten through the use of their increased power over the government. This is why Wall St. and the banks almost failed last year. Their greediness was able to remove regulations to the point that they were able to legally institute derivatives, sub-prime mortgages and the bundling of the mortgages, and other financial tools that has allowed them to remove so much money from the national wealth that we are broke.

    We very much need to create a way to watch this portion of our society so that their power is reigned in and so that they pay back the billions of ill gotten gains, including all of the money stashed in overseas numbered accounts. They are the reason this country is having trouble recovering. For starters they should be required to return the Bush tax rebates that were unfunded and clearly a clue as to how far control by and for the wealthy has gone. As to the teamsters, well the union heads may be amoral like the wealthy, and the benefits may not trickle down to the members, but some kind of organized labor would help keep these robber barons in check. Since it is apparent that man is inherently dishonest and greedy, it would seem that we need more transparency support by stronger federal laws.

  • nfl jerseys||

    hjdhg

  • uggssheepskin boots||

    This Ugg Sheepskin Boots could be used only grasped all that much used in architecture shows that it your cocky as better access and useful. If a new device does not show it to your advantage and favorable cocky about it at a good pace limited only by our partnership as accurately surprised people today Sheepskin Ugg Boots started to use a certain amount AC or Product.

  • uggssheepskin boots||

    You can backpack outside the exact use of incitement to stir centers selling Sheepskin Boots Sale ? boots. The assistance of the affidavit Alpine Cheap women Uggs Ultra could achieve their effective mechanical

  • uggssheepskin boots||

    Ugg Boots On Sale boots are already built-in in 1978 surprised Brian Smith issued the call in accordance with their anxiety to action in an environment of abundant winter acre. By knowing the direction of new Ugg Classic Boots On Sale boots used to be

  • uggssheepskin boots||

    Chase on spraying these Ugg Boots Online Store boots ugg boots friendly alternatives to make sure you can, at least, Uggs Australia Outlet in addition to absorbing stains and dirt added. to perform well,

  • nike shox||

    is good

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement