Senate Moves On FAA Reauthorization Bill <


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Senate Moves On FAA Reauthorization Bill

By Antonio Percy

March 19, 2010, Express Carrier Act In House Bill Will Level Playing Field In Package Delivery Industry. The U.S. Senate is preparing to vote on FAA Reauthorization within a week despite relentless attempts by FedEx to bully lawmakers and block congressional action on a measure that would level the playing field in the package delivery industry.

Memphis-based FedEx is fighting to keep the special status it quietly inserted into a bill in 1996, making FedEx Express the only package delivery company whose truck drivers, sorters and loaders are regulated under a labor law for railroads and airlines, the Railway Labor Act.

The Express Carrier Employee Protection Act is contained in the House version of the FAA Reauthorization bill and would regulate those FedEx Express workers under the correct labor law -- the National Labor Relations Act, which covers all other package drivers, sorters and loaders.

FedEx CEO Fred Smith has unleashed scare tactics and threats to save his company’s special status, which makes it harder for FedEx Express workers to form unions. Smith repeated threats last week to cancel a plan to purchase 15 Boeing cargo planes if his company loses its special status. He was able to cut a deal with his senators from Tennessee to delay the process last week, but that tactic has now failed and the Senate is moving forward.

General President Jim Hoffa and Vice President and Package Division Director Ken Hall are spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill meeting with influential lawmakers to make sure the legislation moves forward despite FedEx’s political games.

“The letters and phone calls that our members have made are making a difference, and we urge you to keep up the pressure while the bill makes its way through the process,” Hall said.

“We are turning up the heat in Washington to make sure that the Congress does the right thing and makes FedEx play by the same rules as everyone else,” Hoffa said.

Congress has extended current FAA funding for another three months while lawmakers work out the details of the new FAA Reauthorization bill. This was necessary because funding would have run out on March 31, and further action is still required by the House after the Senate acts because there are two versions of the bill. A conference committee likely will be appointed to work out the differences.

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