Sunday, May 27, 2007


This past week we heard that some of our management from the Fontana,Ca. service center had meetings with other non-union carriers.I had talked to a Con-Way driver also this week and he said they have had anti-union meetings with their management lately.Funny thing is that there has been no known organizing at Con-way as of late.
Could it be that a coalition of non-union companies are getting together to try to stop a movement that FedEx Freight themselves know is coming!



Anonymous said...

True Heroes & A Tale Of Two Children:
Teach Your Children Well...
And Learn From Them, Too!

Secret Agent? U.S. President? Future FDX CEO?

OK, we've arrived at the conclusion of this UNION PRIDE feature. And as promised, there is a major FedEx connection. The "tale of the second child" is about company founder Fred Smith's oldest son, Richard Wallace Smith, who because of his violent conduct has been run off a college campus by an outraged student body and faculty.

The following information presented to you is NOT for the purpose of ridicule, or to have a laugh at the expense of the second child. In fact, I hope that young Richard can successfully turn his life around and make something worthwhile of himself. Most of his life lies ahead of him. No, the reasons for sharing this info are very serious indeed.

Richard's case calls to mind numerous questions. What responsibility should parents maintain in imparting personal values, moral guidance, and positive role models to their children? Are the rich "different" than the rest of us working stiffs, with values and scruples and goals and methods fundamentally unlike ours? Perhaps that's why they ARE super-wealthy? What does it say about society's economic structures when a violent and angry rich kid can potentially end up as Chief Executive Officer of a huge multinational conglomerate such as FDX?

Yes, Richard Wallace Smith, eldest son of FedEx founder and billionaire Fred Smith, could someday end up as our boss! Stranger things have happened. After all, Fred's wealth has to go somewhere when he dies; there's certainly not enough room in his casket or urn. Who knows what inheritance plans Fred has made? And with wealth comes power. If Richard obtains a major concentration of daddy's FDX stock, who's to say he can't become Chief Executive Officer? Handpicked FedEx and FDX board of director members have NEVER been known for making other than "rubber stamp" decisions supporting Fred Smith's wishes. This consideration thrusts Richard into the spotlight, and subjects him to careful scrutiny by all FedEx employees concerned for their future.

It's only natural for a young man to want to look up to his father. And it's to be expected that kids mimic the behavior and values of their parents. Richard Wallace Smith, through no choice of his own, was born to a millionaire father. That father is now a billionaire. And despite a kind of "cult hero mythology" that has been carefully constructed around Fred Smith, he has actually led a very checkered past. Everybody has a few skeletons in their closet; but most of us ordinary folks have no choice but to pay the piper and learn the hard way from our negative behavior. Yet when rich fatcats do something wrong, repugnant, or illegal, time and again they seem to wield enough money, power, and influence to escape the consequences that the rest of us are forced to endure when we engage in similar conduct or behavior.

For instance, back in 1974, Fred Smith was sued by his two half-sisters in regards to his methods of funneling and depleting the family trust fund into FedEx. He eventually reached a settlement with them. Smith was also criminally indicted upon indications of forgery and bank fraud. He purposely and knowingly invented and falsified business documents detailing meetings that never took place, signed other people's names without their knowledge, and did not disclose these facts to banks making million dollar loans. Smith admitted in court to much of the evidence presented, yet he somehow was acquitted in a jury trial!

Meanwhile, many a FedEx manager has knowingly engaged in "falsification" practices of their own. They have doctored statistical reports, altered time cards regarding overtime distribution, and looked the other way when employees break official policies [like working through break] that boost productivity and make management look good. By contrast, when management "tires" of somebody, hourly workers are often fired for "falsifying" some minor time card detail or company document. Isn't this what is known as a "double standard"?

FedEx couriers and tractor trailer drivers will also be interested in Fred Smith's 1975 hit-and-run auto accident, when he fatally injured a pedestrian who crossed against a traffic light into the car's path. Smith sped away from the scene, and could only produce an expired driver's license when chased down and pulled over by an off-duty police witness. Smith spent that night in jail, but things got "better" for him after that. After a series of six court delays, all charges were eventually dropped by the prosecutor. And nobody at FedEx wrote-up or disciplined Fred; in fact, his corporate control and personal wealth only increased.

Yet I only have to look as far as my own station, IXDA, to know of a courier whose truck was recently hit when another driver ran a red light. Our courier received no traffic citations, unlike the other man, yet management wrote him up for apparently not taking every single existing possible omniscient supernatural precaution! Why should those with influence like Smith get away with wrongs, when the rest of us can't get the benefit of the doubt? Sounds like a good argument for establishing our own kind of influence: Union Power!

These less than stellar episodes in Fred Smith's life are well documented in the book, Overnight Success: Federal Express & Frederick Smith, Its Renegade Creator, written by Vance Trimble, 1993, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York., N.Y.

No wonder Fred's son Richard is confused as to what is right and what is wrong! Given his rich and powerful father's history of arguably by-passing justice, we can see how Richard thinks that's the typical way of doing things! And as you'll see, the "Fred Smith" method of power, influence, and intimidation was applied in his son's behalf. Just ask thousands of Richard's fellow college students! That's certainly what they believe.

I sincerely hope that Richard re-evaluates his life and chooses to venture down a different path than the one he seems to be treading. Why, perhaps someday Richard Wallace Smith will proudly thrust a FedEx Teamster sign in front of his father's face and demand justice for all FDX employees! If former professional "union buster" business consultant Marty Levitt can morally redeem himself and switch over to the side of justice, perhaps there is hope for young Richard. You can read this insider's look at fatcat corporate America and its billion dollar "union avoidance" industry in the book Confessions of a Union Buster, by Martin Jay Levitt with Terry Conrow, 1993, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York. Levitt paints a picture of business executives as domineering control freaks, making Fred Smith look fairly typical, actually!

In this sense it doesn't matter who is CEO of a large company! Upper executives might differ somewhat in the ferocity of dirty tricks they utilize against their workforce. But they all oppose unions wrestling away a degree of managerial control and profits so the life of the average worker can be bettered. Consider the delaying tactics and threats used by Richard's billionaire father against our pilots, who took six years and two unions to obtain their first signed contract. Fred Smith didn't just magically "mastermind" this union avoidance strategy. For many years Smith has utilized high-priced union-busting consultant and public relations firms to combat unionization [visit "Silver Anvil Award" document on to sample the influence of these shadowy firms inside FedEx]. If FDX management views our proud, highly skilled aircraft pilots as mere cogs in a money-making machine, imagine the contempt they must feel for the "lowly" part-time sorter, handler, or courier.

Despite their obscene pay/perks/stock options/golden parachute compensation packages often many hundreds of times that of their workers [visit the AFL-CIO's Executive PayWatch], "Smiths" are a dime a dozen in the corporate world, and quite interchangable. This is evident when time and again you see top executives like FedEx's Mary Alice Taylor quit to take a position at a company in an entirely different industry. That's because their real and only "job" is to squeeze more work out of us! They may not know a nut from a bolt, but they DO know how to put the screws to a workforce. And that makes it all the more important to build a powerful, unified Union Movement at FDX. Our goal isn't to "get rid" of Fred Smith or to force a "better" successor. Instead we must be prepared to confront all management teams, because they are basically "all alike" in their opposition to workers' democracy and rights.

Anonymous said...

Spotlight on the Union-Busters

By Tim Lally

It's time for a closer look at the anti-union consultants who have been a prominent feature of the labor-management landscape since the early 1970s, quietly developing, marketing and fine-tuning their programs and tactics on behalf of employers.

Their basic goal and the fondest wish of those who hire them is, of course, to keep unions out of workplaces or to decertify established unions. When negotiations can't be avoided or delayed any longer, they take a new tack: meet with the union but try to make bargaining as onerous and excruciating as possible.

In extreme cases, the employer-consultant team will not only "go through the motions" of bargaining, but will fabricate some crisis that provokes the union to strike and allows the employer to replace the entire work force with people who are younger, cheaper and "more flexible' (that is, easier to control).

Union people from the local level to the largest internationals have long sought to counter such brazen aggression and regain a level playing field for genuine collective bargaining. Knowing the enemy who may be hiding behind the boss is often the key to success for organizers.

They Work Behind the Scenes

Always assume that the union-busting consultant has sold your boss on a "3-C" strategy: conceal, camouflage, and operate clandestinely. Rarely will the consultant reveal himself during a "preventative campaign," certainly not to anyone eligible to vote in a representation election. Realizing that to occupy center stage is to reveal the employer's and his own motives, the consultant will stay behind the scenes, advising corporate officers and middle managers on what to say and how and when to say it.

The mountain of anti-union propaganda to which workers are exposed during the typical consultant's campaign bears witness to this. For a union, any opportunity to expose the fact that an employer has engaged the services of an anti-union law firm should be seized.

Jackson Lewis: They (Literally) Wrote the Book

Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler & Krupman, founded in 1958 and headquartered on Park Avenue in New York, is a national "labor and employment law firm" which represents management exclusively. With 20 offices in 11 states, more than 300 lawyers and annual revenues of nearly $40 million, they are formidable indeed.

One of the first outfits to refine the techniques of "coaching" management on preventing unionization, Jackson Lewis is also one of the few bold enough to write a book on the subject. But don't look for "Winning NLRB Elections: Avoiding Unionization Through Preventative Employee Relations Programs" on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. Jackson Lewis won't even sell the book, now in its fourth edition, to individuals, let alone to unions.

The 253-page volume, billed on its back cover as "the best and most comprehensive publications on how to establish and maintain a union-free workplace," actually doesn't reveal more than the broad outlines of what a capable consultant's "bag of tricks" contains. Still, it illustrates much of the basic posture union busters recommend when confronting unions.

The Search for Soft Spots

Just as any good union organizer needs to size up a company early on, so too does the cagy consultant search for evidence of your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Such information comes from government-required filings such as LM2 forms and other public documents. In addition to the names and titles of union officers, they disclose the locations of union offices, membership size and details of a union's structure and finances.

You can count on the consultant to publicize everything he can find about the union's dues rates and initiation fees. He'll also do his best to distort the reality that dues are necessary to provide collective bargaining and contract administration services, arbitration hearings, educaton, job training and strike assistance.

In their zeal to portray unions as "outside third parties," consultants will direct payroll departments to deduct the maximum dues amount from employees' checks during an organizing campaign, and then reissue the deducted amount in a separate check. "This is what you can expect every month if the union gets in," they'll proclaim.

This type of paycheck ploy is often used just before a vote on representation. Long before that, your union should have already conducted frank and thorough discussions of dues and especially of how contract benefits won by your union will more than compensate for the amount deducted. Some prospective members may not even realize that dues aren't collected until after a contract is negotiated and ratified by the membership!

Finding Out About Fines

It's a glorious day for your consultant foe when he discovers any history of fines or assessments imposed by your union (or perhaps even some other union) on individual members. He can then circulate a flyer asking, "Can you guess the amount of the highest fine the union ever imposed on one of its members?"

The "quiz" can become a contest in which the worker making the closest guess wins a TV set or some other prize. Even though the chances of getting fined by your union are right up there with getting struck by lightning or winning the big jackpot in the lottery, you should be ready to respond to these questions before the other side brings them up.

We've all read newspapers and seen TV news reports cluttered with references to "union bigs" and "union bosses." Expect to find these terms in the materials generated by consultants; after all, their own prosperity depends upon perpetuating the myth that all unions are run by greedy fat cats whose only concern is squeezing out more dues dollars to pay for limousines and Las Vegas junkets. Remember: the consultant wants his client's employees to think of a union as "just another business, only worse than most." The best way to avoid ever being compared to a greedy business is never to act like one!

Anonymous said...


By Jane Williams
PAI Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS (PAI) -- Unionists have a good reason to watch "The Tonight Show". Its host, comedian Jay Leno, just busted the number-one union busting law firm, Jackson, Lewis, out of a lucrative deal.

Leno was scheduled to appear at the Society of Human Resource Management's annual convention in Las Vegas on June 25-28 - that is until union research Rick Rehberg found out about it. Rehberg, a corporate researcher for the Food & Allied Service Trades, an AFL-CIO department, kept coming across Jackson, Lewis in the 25 or so union campaigns he's worked on.

That's not surprising since the notorious law firm has defeated organizing drives in over 30 states. And they've done it mean and dirty. For example, the New York Daily News reported the law firm was responsible for setting up armed guards at factory gates in at least three states to stop union organizing campaigns. And Jackson, Lewis routinely advises companies to set up forced overtime when union meetings are scheduled, watch workers during break time to detect potential organizing drives, and prohibit workers' communication to thwart the distribution of union material.

Companies pay big money to Jackson, Lewis and other union busters for exactly that kind of information. In fact, union busting is a billion dollar industry. Jackson, Lewis charges $1,200 to $1,600 a person for running seminars titled, "How to Stay Union Free in Today's Era of Corporate Campaigns" and "Best Employer Practices to Stay Union Free in the Millennium". But thanks to Leno, Jackson, Lewis, won't be garnering a hefty check at this year's SHRM conference.

It began when Rehberg saw the seminar, "How to Stay Union Free" on SHRM's convention website, along with its agenda that included Leno as a speaker. While the Jackson, Lewis seminar didn't surprise Rehberg, Leno's participation in the conference did. "I just thought there is no way Leno knows this is going on," said Rehberg, who quickly developed a plan to contact him. With a few well-placed phone calls, which included the United Food and Commercial Workers contacting AFTRA, Leno was on board. And Rehberg said, "He went above and beyond what we were asking him to do."

The unions wanted Leno to announce his support for the right to organize before or after his performance at the conference. Instead Leno, who discovered not one, but two anti-union seminars given by Jackson, Lewis, informed SHRM that he would cancel his appearance if it held either of those seminars. SHRM immediately conceded and canceled the seminars. Reneberg notes it was quite a coup considering SHRM's Chair of the Board, Michael J. Lotito, is a partner at Jackson, Lewis.

In a terse statement SHRM said it "shared Jay Leno's disappointment at being placed in this situation by third parties." But Leno's union, AFTRA, quickly corrected SHRM's spin. "He is, in fact, a standup guy on union issues consistently" said Paul Worthman, director of organizing at AFTRA. Rehberg was delighted with the result, but thinks there's a bigger lesson to be learned.

He applauds the AFL-CIO's union buster website where organizers can share information about specific union busters' tactics, but thinks unions should aggressively go after them. "Do those employers who would like to think of themselves as 'progressive' really want to hire a union buster who uses shotgun slinging guards to stop the union?" Rehberg asks. The overwhelming anti-union tactics used by most employers suggest, yes, they would. But Rehberg points out union busters use sophisticated tactics to ingratiate themselves with clients. For example, union busters keep a close eye on National Labor Relations Board petitions, and once one is filed a company may receive a barrage of seemingly benign letters from union busting law firms saying they are experts on "labor relations."

That's why Rehberg insists, its critical to publicize exactly what these law firms do, And hold organizations such as SHRM responsible for hosting these kinds of seminars. SHRM, says Rehberg, "Sounds legitimate but through its relationship with Jackson Lewis it is a human rights violator. It provides a respectable front for some very dirty practices."

Anonymous said...

Union-Busting Frenzy
A majority of employers aggressively use both legal and illegal anti-union tactics during union representation elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), according to a December report, conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Urban Economic Development and commissioned by American Rights at Work.

The report finds that:

30 percent of employers fire pro-union workers.
49 percent of employers threaten to close a worksite when workers try to form a union.
51 percent of employers coerce workers into opposing unions with bribery or favoritism.
82 percent of employers hire unionbusting consultants to fight organizing drives.
91 percent of employers force employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with supervisors.
“Employer interference continues to be off the charts with devastating consequences for workers,” said former Member of Congress and American Rights at Work Chair David Bonior.

In 91 percent of the cases surveyed for the report, a majority of workers indicated that they wanted a union before the representation election process began. In several instances, workers demonstrated more than 80 percent support for a union. However, after workers were exposed to employer unionbusting activity, only 31 percent of these campaigns resulted in union-represented workers.

“Our research clearly shows that firings, bribes and threats are pervasive and that these actions greatly impede workers’ ability to form unions,” says report co-author Nik Theodore.