Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FedEx to Congress: 'Let us keep blocking the unions or Boeing gets it'

Corporate interests and their media shills are fond of characterizing advocates of organized labor as miscreants and mobsters.

Fox "News" hack Neil Cavuto refers to union organizers as "leather-jacketed guys" who will intimidate employees into joining unions if the card-check provision of the Employee Free Choice Act becomes law.

And the ironically-named Coalition for a Democratic Workplace went so far as to hire the actor who played Johnny Sack on The Sopranos to portray a pro-EFCA figure in a series of highly misleading ads.

But it is executives at some of the biggest brand names in corporate America who are acting like common thugs as they try to intimidate workers, local communities, and congress into opposing unionization.

FedEx is going so far as to warn congress that it will cancel an order from Boeing for 30 jets if lawmakers make it easier for the carrier's employees to unionize.

The package delivery company revealed it might delay purchasing 30 new Boeing 777 cargo planes if Congress reclassifies the company under a different labor act, which would make it easier for its employees to unionize.

A bill currently in front of Congress would place the company under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act, instead of the National Railway Labor Act. The Railway Labor Act allows for the union organization of workers, but all those workers must vote at the same time. This has served as an impediment to unions which could not afford a nationwide campaign. If FedEx Express workers were to be reclassified under the National Labor Relations Act, then workers could be organized one terminal at a time.

But the company argues that the loss of cost-cutting flexibility that would accompany unionization would make it impossible to also afford the planes.

Commissioning the 30 planes -- at a price tag of $225 million each -- is expected to create thousands of jobs for Boeing employees, workers at General Electric Co. who make the jet engines and workers at hundreds of subcontractor companies.

"This notice gives Congress a chance to protect jobs instead of killing jobs," spokesman Maury Lane told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Nice airplane company you got there. Be a shame if somethin' happened to it.

The FedEx flack characterizes his company's announcement as "notice." It sounds more like a warning. It sounds like extortion.

In fact, Tony Soprano himself couldn't have said it better.

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