Friday, December 29, 2017

FedEx thanks Congress and Trump for tax reform

Lead Reporter, Memphis Business Journal

The largest Memphis-based public company has officially thanked Washington for the recent tax reform.
FedEx Corp. released a statement Dec. 22, which said:

“We applaud Congress for passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and thank the president for signing this legislation, which will modernize the U.S. tax code and increase America’s competitiveness. FedEx has long supported tax reform efforts which offer pro-growth, pro-business solutions that will power the economy, increase business investment and expand job opportunities.”
FedEx and Fred Smith, the company’s founder, chairman and CEO, have remained vocal on tax reform — especially over the past year.
In June, Bloomberg reported Smith had pushed an alternative tax plan. When asked about those efforts, FedEx provided a statement to the Memphis Business Journal from Robert Brown, corporate vice president of Tax for FedEx Corp., that said, “We are actively discussing various tax reform alternatives with key stakeholders to fix our broken tax code with a focus on growing GDP and investment for the country.”
Smith then joined forces with David Abney, chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based UPS to author an August op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Business Rivals Agree on Policy.” The piece touched on a variety of topics including the simplification of taxes.

And in November, FedEx “applauded” the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Finance Committee for the passage of the tax legislation and encouraged Congress to deliver the final votes.
During FedEx’s Dec. 19 second quarter 2018 earnings call — just prior to the official passage of the tax reform — Alan Graf, executive vice president and chief financial officer for FedEx Corp., said any capital acceleration would primarily be allocated for equipment, technology and pension funds and would grow earnings per share.
FedEx has more than 400,000 employees, averages 13 million shipments per business day — except for the peak holiday shipping season — and connects more than 220 countries and territories. In fiscal 2017, FedEx reported $60.3 billion in annual revenue. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Analysis: FedEx’s Good News Could Get Big League

December 21, 2017 10:45 

A delivery truck stands in front of a FedEx Corp. shipping center in Miami. Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg News
FedEx Corp.’s delivery truck is heading in the right direction, but the turbo-charge from Uncle Sam won’t hurt. The $65 billion company reported earnings after the close of trading on Dec. 20, besting analysts’ quarterly estimates and raising its full-year outlook.
FedEx is now targeting $11.45 to $12.05 in fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings per share, up from $11.05 to $11.85 previously. That range rises to $12.70 to $13.30 if you adjust it further to exclude the integration costs from its purchase of Netherlands-based TNT Express last year (more on that later).
Intriguingly, FedEx also gave a third guidance range that reflects the effect of the tax cut Republicans are trying to pass.
It’s one of the few companies I’ve seen try to parse the legislation’s earnings impact, and the benefits are major: the tax bill would add an estimated $4.40 to $5.50 to FedEx’s fiscal 2018 adjusted EPS. To put that in context, that’s an extra $1.3 billion in earnings at the midpoint of the range, based on the company’s shares outstanding as calculated by Bloomberg News.
That FedEx of all companies would start running the numbers before the tax bill has even become law isn’t surprising. CEO Fred Smith is a major fundraiser for Republicans and earlier this year was pitching his own version of tax reform.
The biggest reason for the 2018 boost is the revaluation of net deferred tax liabilities, according to the company. FedEx, which gets the vast majority of its revenue from the U.S. even after the TNT deal, paid an effective tax rate of 34.6% in 2017 and had been expecting a levy of between 32% and 35% for 2018, per its annual filing.
The latest version of the tax bill targets a corporate rate of just 21%. The earnings boost comes as FedEx also gets a better handle on the surge of e-commerce shipments that have flooded its network over the past few years. Home deliveries are less profitable for the company than corporate drop-offs because drivers have to make multiple stops and take more circuitous routes. FedEx has invested heavily in building out its network, and those efforts are paying off.
Adjusted for TNT integration expenses, FedEx increased operating margins in each of its main divisions: Express, Ground and Freight. That hasn’t happened for quite a while.
The true test will come when FedEx reports its third-quarter 2018 results in the spring. That period will encompass the bulk of the all-important holiday season, but the company’s latest earnings should give investors more confidence that it will avoid the missteps of its past, perhaps better than rival UPS Inc.
It might have been a total slam dunk of an earnings report — if not for those darn TNT integration expenses.
That business was the victim of a cyberattack earlier this year, forcing FedEx to accelerate its transition to the parent company’s information technology and operational infrastructure. FedEx now expects $1.4 billion of integration expenses through fiscal 2020, up from $800 million.
About $450 million of that bill will hit during its fiscal 2018. That likely won’t be enough to overshadow the rest of FedEx’s good news, but it’s just another headache for a deal that has already delivered plenty of them.
FedEx ranks No. 2 and UPS No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Auxvasse location becomes first Dollar General in country to unionize

in News
By: Claire Kopsky, KOMU 8 Reporter

Auxvasse location becomes first Dollar General in country to unionize

AUXVASSE - After about a month of conversations, the Dollar General store workers in Auxvasse won a vote to unionize Friday night.
It took less than five minutes to tally the votes, six "yes" and four "no,"making the Auxvasse location the first Dollar General store in the country to unionize.
Adam Price is one employee who voted to join the union. 
“You know, we all love working here and it’s a fun place to work, we enjoy the customers and we like Dollar General," Price said. "It’s just that we haven’t really had a voice at the company and we think the company can do better for us and for itself."
Dollar General released the following statement: “We are very disappointed in the vote and continue to believe that a union is not in our employees' best interests. In the coming days, we will evaluate next steps.”
The workers will be part of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655.
The union's director of organizing, Billy Myers, attended the vote.
“UFCW Local 655 believes, if an employee wants to better themselves, and their coworkers, and reach for the middle class status, we should help.”
He noted many employees shared Price's opinion, that the company is a good place to work, but could improve.
"After all, we go to work to make a living wage," Myers said. "People need to stand up and believe they’re worth more.”
Price said the extra pay that the union brings wasn't "specifically what we’re going after.”
“It’s just, just in general to be able to have our voices heard, really, so that we can have a more consistent and fair and competitive pay and environment to work in,” he said

Friday, September 22, 2017

How 1,000 Nurses in Northern Michigan Went Union

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One thousand nurses at Munson Medical Center, one of the largest employers in Northern Michigan, voted to join the Michigan Nurses Association last month. Photo: RNs of the Munson Organizing Committee
Nurses in rural northern Michigan made history August 9-10 when we won labor’s biggest organizing victory since “right to work” took effect in the state in 2013. By a vote of 489–439, more than 1,000 RNs at Traverse City’s Munson Medical Center, the area’s largest employer, will be represented by the Michigan Nurses Association.
Munson nurses tried to organize years earlier, unsuccessfully. “I was involved in the effort to organize 15 years ago,” said critical care pool RN Dagmar Cunningham. “Since then benefits have decreased and the workload due to sicker patients has increased. Something had to change.”
This time around, we succeeded. How did we do it?


It started with one phone call. After years of frustration with mandatory overtime, cuts to benefits and incentives for professional development, poor communication among nurses, managers, and the administration, and problems with nurse recruitment and retention, RNs began asking ourselves whether the highest quality of care was being delivered to our patients at all times.
Wanting to advocate for both my patients and my profession, I made the first call to MNA’s organizing department, in September 2016.
“I want to be paid fairly, but forming a union is about more than money,” said orthopedic RN Mikki Popp. “I want what’s best for my patients. On my unit, we are continually pulled around the hospital as the ‘alternate pool’ but we are not trained or compensated as such.” (Pool nurses can be moved around to fill needs in many departments but should receive specialized training for each department they serve.)
Only seven nurses from critical care floors and the nursing pool attended our ng. But from the onset, we used “best practices” for organizing: build relationships; keep a 1:10 ratio of OC members to nurses; build a committee with new and experienced nurses from every shift and unit; organize around the concerns of the people you are talking to.
General meetings were held monthly. More than 100 nurses attended our fourth in January 2017. To maximize turnout, we held two meetings per night, before and after shift change. We also launched day-long drop-in sessions at a coffee shop, so that nurses who had yet to get involved could ask questions of active OC members.


We supplemented and supported face-to-face conversations with modern rapid-response tools. We created team-based chats within a texting application (GroupMe) chosen for its ability to text across platforms, add or drop members, and integrate with a cloud drive (Dropbox).
This allowed us to share documents and photos, as well as plan meetings and collective actions, all in real time from our smartphones.
For example, when we heard that managers were asking employees in captive-audience meetings about their union activity, we were ready.
A delegation of about 20 nurses organized via GroupMe. With a few hours’ notice, we dropped in on a “nursing open house” with the chief nursing officer (CNO). We asked management to sign on to our statement condemning illegal questioning of nurses about their union views.
Instead, the CNO sent an email to all nurses expressing her concern about the organizing campaign. Nurses who weren’t already aware of our effort suddenly were.



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We quickly printed the CNO’s email, marked it up by hand, and used group text messaging to redistribute photos of it with our editorial comments, pointing out common anti-union techniques. Going around the hospital with a traditional paper flyer might have slowed us down.


But texting did not take the place of conversation. Each day at lunch we set up a table near the cafeteria entrance for more discussion face to face. (During the election, the table was a rallying point for nurses to come to before or after they voted.)
By this time management, counselled by a prominent anti-union firm out of Chicago, was sending out weekly emails against our drive. They set up a page on the hospital intranet filled with biased and misleading “facts.” Several managers were telling nurses they would lose flexibility, the union is a third party, and all the usual arguments.
Beginning in April, nurses were made to attend an information session on the collective bargaining process, run by an anti-union consultant. Management required nurses to leave our patients to attend these hour-long meetings off the floors.
On April 29, we began circulating union authorization cards. A few weeks later we held our first “blitz,” visiting nurses at home to talk about our union. We held a second blitz in June.
“Before the house call, I was passive in my support for a union. I really didn’t think it was going anywhere,” said Eleanor, a mental health nurse. “But hearing from Shannon Gillespie, a fellow nurse who was passionate enough to knock on my door, inspired me to sign my authorization card.”


Eleanor is a great example of how our union grew.
According to Eleanor, “Shortly after the house visit, pool RN Spencer Carey transferred in and asked me for training specific to our department. His enthusiasm for our union convinced me that this was actually going to happen.
“Mental health is a locked unit, so I made an effort to be ‘union visible’ in an area where other strong supporters might not have access. Morale was low. Maybe because we are isolated from the rest of the hospital, mental health nurses were more scared about unionizing.
“I wore an MNA badge holder, attended union meetings, and tried to keep my co-workers informed. Several nurses signed cards as a result of our conversations. I also became a regular staffing the cafeteria table.”
We won our union because nurses like Eleanor stepped up. But that victory is just the beginning.
Post-election, the cafeteria table is still a hub to distribute information and gather nurses’ priorities, as we develop a bargaining survey and democratically prepare to bargain our first contract.
James Walker, BSN, RN, CCRN, is a cardiothoracic critical care nurse at Munson Medical Center.