September 6th, 2010

Brown bailout, nothing of the sort

FedEx's Anti-Union Drive

FedEx tries to tap taxpayer resentment by portraying proposed labor law changes as a "bailout" for rival UPS

FedEx hopes to harness taxpayer ire sparked by the word "bailout" to kill legislation in Congress that would help nearly 100,000 of its workers to unionize more easily. FedEx argues the bill would hobble it with higher costs and less reliability across its network and represents unfair government aid for its chief rival, UPS.

The dispute involves the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009, which contains a provision that would change the labor law covering FedEx workers. Language introduced in the bill by U.S. Representative James Oberstar (D-Minn.) would subject FedEx workers to the same rules as those performing similar work for Atlanta-based UPS. The measure affects employees of FedEx Express, which along with FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, and FedEx Office comprises FedEx, but not the status of FedEx Express workers who are air-based, such as pilots and airplane mechanics. The bill passed the House on May 21 and is now in the Senate, where a similar House measure failed in 2007.

FedEx's campaign, dubbed "Brown Bailout," debuted June 9 online and could be followed by television and print ads. The company wants consumers to complain to their senators about the legislation. On, the FedEx campaign's Web site, a man in front of a whiteboard describes "getting a government bailout" in a manner similar to UPS' "Brown" marketing campaign. After stating that UPS is struggling to compete with FedEx, which ships a higher percentage of its parcels by air, the man says, "So what do you do? Well, you could try to improve your own business…well, that's hard work. Instead, how about slipping a few words into an important government bill that gets you a bailout?" He uses his marker to turn the S in UPS into a dollar sign. "We're doing it right now, but shhh…don't tell anybody."

Resisting NLRA Jurisdiction

Here are the details: The legislation seeks to remove a distinction between how UPS and FedEx Express must deal with employees. Because FedEx was originally founded as an airline, FedEx Express workers are currently subject to the Railway Labor Act, a law passed in 1926 to prevent disruptions to national air and train traffic. Though many FedEx Express workers don't have a direct relationship with the operation or maintenance of the air fleet, they are still covered by the RLA. That law carries a difficult path to unionization that requires a national vote by every worker at a company, and doesn't allow for organizing at a local, terminal-by-terminal level. Since the late 1990s, UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have pushed to change this classification.

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copshows| Stickup Man

ONTD_Political's PotD: September 05, 2010.

For nearly two months now Kashmir has been in the grip of violent protests, as angry young men, women and children have held demonstrations against Indian rule in the region. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, which is divided between Hindu-majority India and Pakistan, but claimed by both in its entirety.

Protesters reject Indian sovereignty over Kashmir and want to form a separate country or merge with predominantly Muslim Pakistan. The recent unrest in Indian Kashmir is reminiscent of the late 1980s, when protests against New Delhi’s rule sparked an armed conflict that has so far killed more than 68,000 people, mostly civilians. Collapse )
All photos by AP Photo | Altaf Qadri, except where otherwise specified.
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Source: "Kashmir, Valley of Tears" | In Focus | Denver Post

They talk about me like a dog

(CNN) – Those following President Obama's prepared remarks during a speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Monday were thrown a bit of a curveball when it came to a description of his critics:

"Some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time and they're not always happy with me. They talk about me like a dog. That's not in my prepared remarks, but it's true," he told a crowd largely consisting of union members.

The line was a rare departure from a president who normally sticks close to the text of his speech and may forecast a more aggressive tone on the part of Obama as the midterms approach.

The address is the first of two speeches this week in which Obama will try and frame his administration's response to the recession, less than two months ahead of midterm elections where Democratic majorities in the House and Senate are on the ropes.