Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hilda Solis: Labor's New Sheriff

By Esther Kaplan

President Obama calls Solis part of his economic team, but the truth is she's not part of the daily huddle at the White House with Summers and Geithner and Orszag. She's tapped instead as a lead voice in the "jobs, jobs, jobs" choir, advocating for Obama's latest stimulus package. She has tiptoed into the realm of financial regulation, organizing a joint hearing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the abysmal performance of target date retirement funds during the market crash, and she doles out hundreds of millions of dollars in job training funds, a decent chunk of which she has used to shape policy by channeling it to green industries. But Solis understands that her real influence lies in her power to enforce the nation's labor laws--the primary mission of the DoL. It's a role she embraced with relish at her swearing-in, where she announced with a grin, "To those who have for too long abused workers, put them in harm's way, denied them fair pay, let me be clear: there is a new sheriff in town."



Anaheim Driver said...

Dear Mr. Smith
In response to your letter dated March 18, 2010. I agree with you, FedEx is a strong, successful and vibrant organization. However, I have to disagree with the efficiency of your business model as it pertains to FedEx employees. Yes, we have built a world-class organization and we are an integral part of the world economy. But the employees of FedEx are demanding a more equitable share of the tremendous profits incurred by our dedication to hard work and our participation in the success of this organization.
Simply asking for better working conditions, for a better pension plan, and standardized job classifications will not place FedEx at risk. If we look at the history of organized labor they have and continue to experience tremendous success.
Organizations such as Police and Fire departments, many public and private transportation companies, entertainment organizations such as the Screen Actors’ Guild, Major League Sports player organizations, Teachers unions, public works utilities and Rail industries, including UPS and YRC. All these organizations are highly successful. All of these union organizations provide an adequate living for their members and give them a voice in their economic growth and they provide adequate benefits. The essence of labor unions is to give workers a stronger voice so they can get a fair share of the economic growth they help create, this has always been important to making the economy work for all Americans.
We know bad decisions have been made in the past. Purchasing Viking Freight, a company that prided itself in dedicated long-term employees. Employees who average 20-30 years of faithful service, and to turn that over to American Freightways Management under which employee’s average less six years of service, that means higher turnover. That is an executive decision.
The failure of the US Auto industry which turned-out an inferior product for two decades, was an executive decision designed to bring customers back into the show-room every five years.
With all due respect Mr. Smith, unionization of FedEx is inevitable, the damage done to the morale, mental and economical welfare of FedEx Employees is immeasurable.

Anaheim Driver said...

Anaheim Management continues to struggle with basic manpower issues such as Driver’s vacations, earned time-off, medical restrictions and workplace injuries. That new change of operations which began in 2009 is proving to be a cost saver in employee wages. But, it is turning-out to be a deficit when it comes to worker’s compensation injuries, and a detriment to the morale and welfare of its Drivers and their families.
The fact that FedEx Freight (Harrison) turned middle-aged men (Line-Drivers) into common dock workers, a entry-level position through-out the transportation industry. Says one of two things; either FedEx wants middle-age employees out of the company because of the cost associated with long-term employees such as higher wages and medical expenses. Or profits win-out over the long-term dedication and service provided by its middle-aged, experienced employees.
At the Anaheim Service Center Drivers are denied earned time-off, this has been ongoing for the last 18 months. Are we truly surprised at this?
Common logic amongst Truck Drivers is you earn that covenant driving position after years of dedicated service, establishing a reputation beyond reproach. What Harrison is telling us is our goal under this new system is to be reverted back to entry-level. Are we surprised that middle-aged men are not capable of working as hard as their younger counterparts! Is this the reason for heavy employee turnover in the east?
Unionization of FedEx Freight, a collective bargaining agreement which establishes job classifications, mandatory rules for vacations and a better benefit package/pension plan will make FedEx a more harmonious, cohesive and pleasurable atmosphere to work in and will propel us above and beyond any of our competitors.
Anaheim Management needs to consider new and innovative ways to get their Drivers the time-off they have earned and deserve.