Friday, June 11, 2010

A Truck Driver is a Truck Driver, Not an Airline Pilot

By Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa
Published By The Hill on June 10, 2010

A truck driver is a truck driver is a truck driver. All the bullying and threats by FedEx Chief Executive Fred Smith to Congress won’t change that simple fact.

But Smith is demanding that Congress preserve a special loophole that applies only to FedEx Express – or else. In 1996, Smith lobbied for, and essentially received an exemption from the labor law that governs every other package delivery company in the United States.

As a result, FedEx Express is covered by a labor law that applies to only airlines and railroads. So even though FedEx Express drivers pick up and drop off packages exactly the same way as every other delivery driver in the United States, they are treated like airline pilots under labor law. Because of this, they face legal barriers to joining a local union.

The Teamsters Union has launched a campaign to remind Americans that truck drivers are not airline pilots.

You’d think we wouldn’t need to explain the difference – that truck drivers’ cruising level is about four feet off the ground, and pilots don’t have to stop the plane to use the bathroom.

But FedEx Express insists on telling Congress that it’s an airline. That’s quite a pronouncement for a company that employs more than 90,000 truck drivers, sorters, loaders and unloaders who don’t even touch an airplane. FedEx has 13,000 more truck drivers than UPS, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.

And FedEx trucks log about 165 million more miles a year than UPS trucks.


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