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FedEx Union Busting Tactics Revealed

The company spent nearly $1M to stop Teamster organizing efforts

Brian Young's picture
Jan 15, 2020

From 2014 through 2018, delivery giant FedEx spent $837,000 on union-busting advisors to keep the Teamsters union out. Now transcripts and a video have leaked out showing the lies that the company told them to keep them unorganized.

The Guardian, which received leaked audio recordings from workers at FedEx, says that workers were subjected to captive audience meetings where they were required to sign-un and were bombarded with anti-union messages. From 2015 through 2016 managers and union avoidance consultants lectured the workers at several locations about the dangers of joining the Teamsters.

“It’s time to campaign. If you don’t want this third party coming in putting a wall between us, it’s time. Because when your campaign and tell them you don’t want them here, eventually it becomes loud and clear to them. You can do that,” said a FedEx human resources manager in a July 2016 captive audience meeting.

At the same meeting in July of 2016, another HR manager referred to the pro-union workers as ungrateful and accused them of trading their allegiance from the company to strangers.

“Recently I had this question come up from an employee. Why is there a small group of employees at our company who seem to be very ungrateful at what the company has to offer them? Why do some employees give their allegiance to strangers and an organization like the Teamsters rather than this company that continues to provide for us, that has provided us with a long list of benefits and incredible pay, not to mention good equipment and facilities? I don’t have an answer, I don’t know. I feel your pain. I appreciate the company and what they offer. I have an attitude of gratitude.”

In a training video that was released by Teamsters Local 728, the company accuses the Teamsters of targeting FedEx so that they could aid UPS. They claim that if there was a dispute between FedEx and UPS, the Teamsters would be forced to side with UPS since 1 in 5 Teamsters work for the shipping giant.

“A package lost by FedEx equals a package gained by UPS,” said a narrator in the video.

You can watch the full anti-union video below.

 

Currently, FedEx only has two organized workplaces, one is a warehouse in Stockton, California, while the other is the pilots who fly for FedEx. The company has been openly hostile towards unions over the last decade. From 2013 to 2017, the company fought a successful union campaign in New Jersey. After the workers voted to organize, the company brought the case to the National Labor Relations Board and spent three years contesting the eligible voters in the workplace. Facing Trump’s NLRB in 2017, the workers gave up the fight and voluntarily ceded representation. This current union avoidance campaign stopped numerous organizing drives and helped the company win several union elections.

Perhaps as retribution for organizing, FedEx workers reported experiencing cuts to their bonuses in 2019 as well as pay cuts due to increasing costs for health insurance.

“They decided for 2020 that if your spouse can get insurance at their employer and you keep them with FedEx’s insurer, they’re going to charge you $150 a month to keep your spouse on it. The pay raise amounted to $30 a week because we received $0.75 an hour raise so it doesn’t cover the spousal surcharge,” they said.

When The Guardian asked FedEx to comment on their union-busting activities, the company did not try to hide their union-busting, saying “While FedEx Freight respects the right of our team members to decide for themselves if they want to be part of a union, the law does not require us to remain neutral and protects our right to provide facts and opinions about unions so that our employees may make a fully informed decision.”

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