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The Arrogance of FedEx

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FedEx CEO Fred Smith is always full of surprises. First, he threatened to pull his Boeing contract if Congress passes a provision of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization that would place FedEx workers under the NLRA, the statute that protects virtually all other private sector workers. Now his top flack is threatening to "destroy" members of Congress who support FedEx workers over FedEx management.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the legislation on May 21. The reauthorization bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

When asked about FedEx's multi-million dollar ad campaign against the legislation that is reported to launch on Tuesday, June 9, top FedEx flack Maury Lane told U.S. News and World Report in a story posted in The White House Bulletin, "I'm going to try to destroy them."

This follows Smith's repeated threats to cancel a $10 billion contract to purchase Boeing 777 planes if FedEx Express workers were moved under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). FedEx clearly threatened in a March 24, 2009 SEC filing, and Smith reiterated in testimony before Congress in May, that its contract to purchase additional aircraft from Boeing is contingent upon its labor relations for all of its employees being governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). Under this provision, if Congress dares to grant even a portion of its workers the rights enjoyed by most American private sector employees under the NRLA, FedEx has the right to cancel those purchase orders.

Fred Smith and FedEx breed a culture of arrogance and intimidation. First, they cut wages, increase medical insurance premiums and eliminate pension benefits for its employees. Then they try to blackmail Congress with threats to pull the Boeing contract. Now they threaten to destroy the political careers of those who oppose them.

One can only wonder what dirty tricks they'll be up to next.