Wednesday, May 9, 2007

"Pushed Out Of The Company",,,,

The following article can be read at
http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/00827/fedex-pension.html


New York, NY: FedEx is planning to freeze its
traditionally-defined benefit plans, moving employees
to an existing cash-balance plan. The FedEx freeze of
its $11.5 billion plan is effective June 1, 2008.

Watchdog groups have long suspected that older workers
are being "squeezed out" of FedEx in order to reduce
pension payments and other benefits to employees based
on seniority.

An Early Retirement "Incentive"?
FedEx bean-counters may be hoping the news of the
pension freeze will cause more of FedEx's older
workers to choose early retirement.

Because benefits earned before the point of the
pension freeze are protected by law, workers and
retirees who leave employment before the freeze do not
stand to lose benefits. A pension freeze only affects
those employees who continue to work for the company.

Pension freezes often have the strongest impact on
older workers. In 2005, the United States Government
Accountability Office (GAO) released a report which
found that a typical cash balance plan provides lower
benefits for most workers than a traditional plan. The
report states that this decline in benefits tends to
be largest for older workers.

"Pushed out of the company": Kerri's Account
Kerri (not her real name) worked as a courier for
FedEx for 19 years. She alleges she was pushed out of
FedEx because of her age and her seniority with the
company. "When I started with FedEx, there were a lot
more older people working there. I don't know what
happened to them. Now it's mostly people in their
twenties," she says. "If you're an older employee,
they will write you up for anything. I saw this happen
to other people I worked with: getting pushed out of
the company."

"I wasn't worried then, because my record with the
company was great. I won awards for my work and I was
proud. I turned 41, and suddenly it seemed like there
were all these write ups."

Kerri was fired in 2001.

Facing an Uncertain Future
Kerri worries about her future, and the future of her
family. "My husband is 56 and still works for FedEx.
He is very, very careful and keeps a low profile. We
can't afford to have him get pushed out, too," she
adds. Kerri also wonders if the changes at FedEx have
contributed to a low morale among couriers. "They used
to care about employees. When I started, you had pride
drilled into you. No matter what it took, I did it.
The new people coming in don't have that attitude of
pride in their work."

In the case of couriers and other manual workers,
"old" is a relative term. Many of these workers
started their careers straight out of high school.
When they reach their 50s, they are often considered
"old timers". They may face repetitive-stress or other
injuries. If their employers do not provide them with
the necessary educational training, many old timers
may be unable to successfully transition to a desk
job.

For many of these workers, "early retirement" may seem
like their only option.

By Anne Borden

5 comments:

JOE NUNO said...

Hartford HD Drivers to Vote May 11 - May 10, 2007
The single-vehicle contractors at the Home Delivery terminal in Hartford, CT go to vote for Teamsters Local Union 671 on May 11. The company sent the usual suspects (Tim Edmonds, recently charged with unfair labor practices in Northboro) but also sent other senior managers from Pittsburgh to make phony claims and empty promises. The Hartford drivers are taking the next step to standing up to the FedEx scam.

JOE NUNO said...

Hartford HD Drivers Vote But Ballots Not Counted - May 11, 2007
The Home Delivery drivers in the Hartford terminal voted this morning as ordered by the NLRB. The company again inserted another delaying tactic into the process by requesting the NLRB review the Region 34 Regional Director's decision on the driver status. While this request for review is considered by the NLRB, the Hartford ballots have been impounded and will be counted in the near future.

The entire FedEx strategy in the NLRB process is wholly predictable. The FedEx strategy is deny, delay and lose. FedEx denies the drivers are employees, FedEx delays the process with days of meaningless testimony at a hearing, then FedEx loses in the end when the Regional Director rules the drivers are in fact employees.

This request for review tactic is more of the same. FedEx denies that the Regional Director made proper the ruling, FedEx delays by requesting the ballots get impounded and then FedEx will lose.

FedEx will lose this request for review just like the company lost in its reviews in Barrington, like they lost in Northboro and like they lost in Wilmington.

Although delayed by the process, the justice for the Hartford drivers won't be denied. We expect a ruling from the NLRB within a few weeks and then the ballots will be counted.

"THE TRUTH ABOUT FEDEX" said...

The Teamsters have fought for the interests of working men and women for more than 100 years. Today we represent 1.4 million hard-working women and men throughout the United States and Canada.

Our goal is to secure workers' rights, protect their health and safety, and win fair pay for their hard work. The Teamsters stand with all FedEx workers who demand dignity, respect and good pay for a job well done.

From International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa:

FedEx has built much of its empire on low-cost business models and other unsavory practices, some of which are now coming back to haunt it. In September, African-American and Latino workers won class action status for their lawsuit (Satchell v. FedEx Express) against the shipping giant, alleging discrimination in pay, promotions and disciplinary action.

Statistical evidence paints a picture of minority workers stuck in part-time, low-paying positions, while arbitrary evaluations and invalid skill tests keep them there. The company may try to blame discriminatory practices on a few bad-apple managers, but the trail leads much farther up the chain of command.

FedEx is also a major proponent of an alarming trend in today's job market: dishonestly classifying workers as "independent contractors." This allows employers to maintain absolute control over operations and shift costs and risks onto workers, while reaping all the benefits of their labor. The entrepreneurial spirit may sound appealing, but the benefits for corporations and resulting burdens for workers are undeniable.

FedEx Ground has 14,000 independent contractors that make its domestic, non-express package deliveries. These drivers receive no health care or retirement benefits. The drivers pay taxes for workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and Social Security, and they purchase fuel and maintain their own trucks, all out of their own pockets. Overtime pay and vacation days do not exist for these "independent contractors." Such is the price of FedEx's so-called entrepreneurial freedom.

As unionized drivers know, allowing FedEx to maintain its status quo is a threat to worker justice throughout the shipping industry. Such an unfair advantage puts downward pressure on wages, benefits and other industry standards. And there's a clear trail of where the money is going.

FedEx claims a typical driver makes $50,000 to $55,000 a year. But as one ground driver pointed out, the fuel, maintenance and loans on his truck cut his salary to $20,000. When FedEx takes a free ride on the backs of its employees, it's no wonder it can afford to undercut union competitors like UPS. Teamster members at UPS have won medical care, pensions, and 401(k)s. All driving costs are covered by the company. And by the way, UPS remains so successful because it has a unionized workforce.

As exploited workers are wont to do, FedEx's ground drivers are fighting back. Drivers have sued the company to challenge their independent contractor status in more than 20 states. FedEx is already under court order to reclassify drivers in California, and has suffered similar defeats elsewhere.

Manipulating job classifications to pay employees less than their due is one of the oldest tricks in the book. But beyond immediate dollars and cents benefits, there is a larger corporate incentive--being an independent contractor means you cannot legally organize into a union.

As unionized drivers know, allowing FedEx to maintain its status quo is a threat to worker justice throughout the shipping industry. Such an unfair advantage puts downward pressure on wages, benefits and other industry standards. And there's a clear trail of where the money is going.

After President Bush's 2002 tax cuts, FedEx founder and CEO Fred Smith began paying annual dividends to himself and other stockholders for the first time in the company's history. Forget re-investing the money, or, God forbid, pay workers better wages and benefits. Since 2002, Smith himself has collected nearly $14.5 million in dividend bonuses.

FedExWatch.com is here to track the anti-worker tactics and bad business practices of FedEx. Corporations have a choice between the high road and the low road when it comes to business practices, and we as consumers have the power to influence that choice. Say "no" to FedEx.

In Solidarity,

James P. Hoffa

THE DETROIT NEWS said...

By Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa

May 14, 2007

Internet-reliant companies paid far less in taxes last year than they reported to their shareholders, according to recent news reports.

The discrepancy involves issues related to stock options. Despite earning $1.1 billion in pretax profits, "Yahoo likely won't end up owing any income taxes from last year's earnings," The Wall Street Journal reports, noting that the company stated to shareholders that its profits would be taxed at 42 percent.

Google reported an "effective tax rate" of 23 percent, although its stock generated a $611 million tax benefit, cutting the rate to 8.8 percent. According to the Journal, this is also going on at Amazon, Lehman, Apple, Adobe and Qualcomm.

So these relatively young companies are creating the impression of being socially responsible while actually taking a significant cut in its taxes. That isn't good enough. We need our companies to genuinely ensure that taxes are paid, and our environment and workers' rights are respected.

In March, retailer Circuit City joined the chain of companies slashing thousands of jobs when it gave pink slips to 3,400 of its most knowledgeable sales staff. The lower-cost, less experienced workers will undoubtedly result in lost sales, mistakes and angry customers. In fact, Circuit City shares fell to a new, 12-month low last week after it revised down its 2008 financial forecast.

The galling part of Circuit City's move is it undercuts the American Dream: Work hard and you will succeed. That notion relies on companies and workers supporting one another. A worker relies on a steady income in order to undertake some of life's major financial obligations, such as purchasing a home or raising a family. An individual's willingness to buy a house or raise a family is undercut when corporations, such as Circuit City, fail to responsibly uphold its half of the bargain.

The National Consumers League released a survey last year that found nearly two-thirds of consumers believe that corporate social responsibility is important. When respondents were given five choices — including "lower price" and "easily accessible products" — as the factor most likely to make them loyal followers of a brand or company, consumers most frequently selected "being socially responsible" by a wide margin. The American public wants socially responsible corporations.

Indeed, a socially responsible impulse is taking root. A May 6 New York Times story, "Businesses Try to Make Money and Save the World," reports on entities bridging the gap between non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations — a stark contrast to perhaps the worst corporate citizen in America, Wal-Mart.

Let's set aside several irresponsible acts associated with Wal-Mart — such as the high number of workers reliant on Medicaid funds to cover health care costs, the pending class action sex discrimination lawsuit against the company, its resistance to paying employees overtime, and the closure of a store after a group of workers chose to form a union — and focus instead on its tax dodges.

The Des Moines Register reported in April that large multi-state companies like Wal-Mart are able to avoid up to $100 million in Iowa taxes annually, and quotes a professor who states that income from at least 16 stores "was eventually funneled to Wal-Mart and its executives as tax-free dividends." Last month the Providence Business News covered how debate over Rhode Island's large budget deficit — which will "almost certainly require social-service cuts" — was heated up by a report that Wal-Mart paid just 2 percent of its state income in taxes in 2002, while the state's poorest residents paid 11.5 percent.

Unfortunately, these examples are nothing new. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, Wal-Mart has skipped out on paying some $2.3 billion to states from 1999 to 2005, utilizing a scheme involving rent payments — the company essentially buys buildings, pays rent to itself, and then deducts that cost as a business expense — in states where it should be paying taxes.

It's no wonder so many people fight to keep Wal-Mart out of their towns.

Corporations need to stop pursuing policies that undermine the American Dream and begin living up to their responsibilities to workers, our government and our environment.

Mr. Hoffa's letter to the editor originally appeared in The Detroit News on May 11, 2007.

ROBERT said...

THIS IS TRUE ABOUT KERRI,CAUSE IS GOING TO START AT FEDEX FRT WEST IN JUNE 1 2008,THE BIG "PUSHED OUT OF THE COMPANY",STARTING FROM LINE HAUL TO P&D LOCAL,AND SENIOR DOCKWORKER THAT STARTED WITH VIKING FREIGHT SYSTEM WAY BACK,AND THIS IS BULL CRAP,CAUSE THERE WERE TIME WHEN DRIVERS THAT CAME FROM RICH FAMILY THAT HAD INHERIT TRUST FUND FROM THEIR OWN FAMILY AND WERE ASK IF THEY COULD BORROW UP TO 1 MILLIONS DOLLARS FOR THE COMPANY TO GROW,NATURALLY THEY PAY BACK THE LOAN WITH INTEREST.THIS IS TRUE ASK A SENIOR DRIVER FROM LOS ALAMITOS DAYS AND SAN FERNANDO,OR EVEN ASK THE SERVICE CENETR MANAGER FROM GARDENA HE'LL TELL YOU ABOUT MINO LENDING THE MONEY.BUT OH WELL TO FEDEX THIS DOES NOT MEAN NOTHING TO THEM,AND THE BIG PUSHED IS COMING FROM THOSE BIG WIGS FROM THE OLD UNION FREIGHT COMPANY THAT RUNS FEDEX NOW,OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE,WHERE ARE THOSE THAT STARTED VIKING FRT SYSTEM NOW, PUSHED OUT!LOOK AROUND AND SEE ALL THE TOP MANAGERS FROM SAN JOSE RIGHT FROM THE BIG UNION SHRINKAGE COMPANY.ORGANIZE NOW AND VOICE OUT!!!