Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FedEx Blackmails Congress

This smacks of corporate terrorism. (h/t TPM)
FedEx could cancel contracts for $10 billion in American-made planes if Congress makes it easier for unions to organize the delivery giant's workers.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the Memphis-based company disclosed that purchases of Boeing 777s are contingent on FedEx Express' continued coverage by the National Railway Labor Act.

The disclosure serves as a warning shot to lawmakers seeking to put FedEx Express workers under the National Labor Relations Act, a move seen as helping the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

"It's FedEx political hardball at its finest," said analyst Donald Broughton with Avondale Partners. In a research note Monday, he wrote: "We see FedEx's action as a deft political move that aligns the interests of Boeing and GE with FedEx, and pits the interests of the Teamsters against the interests of the machinist and several other trade unions."
FedEx is threatening to buy French-made Airbuses to upgrade its fleet instead. Why does corporate America hate our country and its workers?

UPDATE: FedEx isn't the only corporation that likes to play hardball. Via Washington Monthly comes information about a recent WSJ article. It basically says banks sent the following message to President Obama after Congress moved to tax their bonuses:
When administration officials began calling them to talk about the next phase of the bailout, the bankers turned the tables. They used the calls to lobby against the antibonus legislation, Wall Street executives say. Several big firms called Treasury and White House officials to urge a more reasonable approach, both sides say. The banks' message: If you want our help to get credit flowing again to consumers and businesses, stop the rush to penalize our bonuses.
Real patriotic, huh? These bankers ruined our economy, put people out of work and literally on the street, and they still want to call the shots. And they wonder why Main Street is so outraged.

UPDATE 2: I should clarify that I interpreted FedEx as threatening to buy Airbuses because of something I read on Wikipedia:
FedEx Express was to have been the launch airline for the Airbus A380 freighter, having ordered ten for delivery between 2008 and 2011 with options on ten more. The company had planned to introduce the first aircraft into service in August 2008 for use on routes between hubs in the United States and Asia. Faced with A380 delays of more than two years, FedEx canceled these orders[20] and replaced them with an order for fifteen Boeing 777 freighters with an option for fifteen more, to be delivered from 2009 through 2011. FedEx has said that Airbus will allow it to transfer its nonrefundable deposits to purchases of future aircraft, and has stated it may consider the A380F when the A380 program is less affected by construction delays. In December 2008, FedEx posponed delivery of some of the 777s: four will be delivered in 2010 as previously agreed, but 2011 deliveries will be only four, rather than the 10 originally planned. Five more will arrive in 2012, and two in 2013.[21] In January 2009, FedEx exercised its options to buy 15 more 777 freighters and acquired options for a further 15.[22]
What better way to wiggle out of their contract, slam the unions and get those planes they previously wanted from Airbus?


abi said...

The arrogance is hard to fathom, isn't it? But I have to stop myself when I find myself thinking that they just don't get it. The problem is - we just don't get it. We don't get that as long as corporations are allowed to funnel millions into lobbyists and campaign funds, they do call the shots.

They're arrogant because they've bought the right to be.

Kathy said...

Abi, I totally agree, and I was happy to hear President Obama bring up the issue of lobbyists last night on television. I'm just not sure how anyone can ever clean up the problem though. As long as we have politicians willing to sell out our country for 20 pieces of silver, nothing will ever change, and corporations will always find a way to bribe them.

It's very frustrating.