Thursday, October 05, 2006

FedEx drivers set to vote Oct. 20

In a little more than two weeks, Wilmington will be at the epicenter of a fight to unionize a large chunk of one of the nation's best-known company

On Oct. 20, approximately 55 Federal Express drivers at the company's Jewel Drive distribution center and Ballardvale Street facility will vote to authorize the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to represent them in future negotiations with the company.

And with nearly three-quarter of drivers requesting an election, according the Teamster spokesman, there is a good chance that Wilmington drivers will be the first of the Memphis-based company's 15,000 drivers nationwide to belong to a labor union.

"This will the very first election in the country to unionize FedEx drivers. It's a landmark union event and it's happening in your little town," said Steve Sullivan of Teamsters Local 25 based in Charlestown.

A call to FedEx's media office in Memphis was not return by deadline. But in an press release issued last week, Perry Colosimo, a spokesman for FedEx Ground, said the decision "may be appealed."

Union officials believe that a successful vote in Wilmington could begin a rapid vote to bring FedEx's entire fleet of drivers under its representation.

The election takes place in the shadow of a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that the drivers at both Wilmington's FedEx Home Delivery locations are employees under the company's business model.

Rosemary Pye, Regional NLRB director that includes Boston, ruled Sept. 20 that control and restrictions enforced by FedEx on drivers in the Home Delivery division led the package-delivery company to incorrectly classify drivers as independent contractors, which would make them ineligible to be unionized.

"This is a big mandate from the NLRB," said Sullivan, who is the Local's director of organizing.

And that ruling has allowed the union to seek to represent the workers in any future negotiations.

"This is a great victory for these workers in Wilmington," said Jim Hoffa, the Teamsters' general president, in a press release.

The Teamsters, with 1.4 million members nationwide, represents both United Parcel Service and DHL, the nation's two other largest package delivery companies.

While most of FedEx's employees are not union members, the Air Line Pilots Association International represents their 4,700 pilots.

In accordance with the decision, Local 25 initiated the election under the NLRA guidelines by submitting and having the workers return authorization cards.

First vote

This is the second ruling by the NLRB this year that found FedEx Home Delivery drivers in Massachusetts are direct employees. The Wilmington vote, which will take place between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. at both locations, is the first vote of it's kind across the country.

Currently, none of Federal Express 15,000 drivers nationwide are unionized,

The ruling is the seventh time since 1988 that the NLRB has found that all drivers - full-time, regular, part-time and swing drivers - at FedEx Home Delivery are direct employees despite the company's assertion that they are "independent operators." Currently, FedEx drivers are required to supply their own uniforms, register the trucks and fill out their own tax forms.

They are also paid on a per package basis so there is an incentive, according to Teamster officials, for Fed Ex drivers to work longer hours which compromises safety for the driver.

Teamster drivers at UPS make $27.12 an hour while those driving for DHL make $22, said Sullivan.

"These rulings are exposing FedEx's underhanded business model, designed to deny thousands of hardworking employees benefits they deserve as direct employees," said Sean O'Brien, Local 25 president.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

YRC Worldwide Schedules Third Quarter Conference Call

YRC Worldwide Inc. will host a conference call for shareholders and the investment community on Friday, October 27, 2006, beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET, 8:30 a.m. CT. Third quarter earnings will be released Thursday, October 26, 2006, after the market close.
Hosting the teleconference will be: Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and CEO, YRC Worldwide; Don Barger, Sr. Vice President and CFO, YRC Worldwide; James Welch, President, Yellow Transportation; Mike Smid, President, Roadway; Jim Ritchie, President, Meridian IQ; and Jim Staley, President, YRC Regional Transportation.

Investors and analysts should dial 1.888.609.3912 at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the call. The Conference ID number is 7484957. The conference call will be open to listeners through a live webcast via StreetEvents at and via the YRC Worldwide Internet site

An audio playback of the teleconference will be available beginning two hours after the call ends until midnight on November 10, 2006, by dialing 1.800.642.1687 and then entering the access code 7484957. An audio playback also will be available for 30 days after the call via the StreetEvents and the YRC Worldwide web sites.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Company to get refund in tax battle settlement

A tax refund of several hundred thousand dollars is due Roadway Express Inc. under a settlement of a 10-year property assessment battle over the value of its sprawling Middlesex Twp. truck terminal.

The Cumberland County commissioners approved the deal with the Akron, Ohio-based company yesterday.

The county will have to refund $96,500 to the firm, said Stephen D. Tiley, county assessment solicitor.

Middlesex Twp. and Cumberland Valley School District must refund part of the property tax payments Roadway has made to them since the assessment battle erupted in 1996, Tiley said.

He said the deal calls for the county to set the value for the 400-door terminal, which is near Interstate 81, Route 11 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, at $10.4 million, down from $17.4 million.

The property's assessment for 1996 will drop to $9.8 million, Tiley said. The terminal had been valued at $11.4 million for that year, he said.

Cumberland County has conducted two countywide property reassessments since 1996.

Tiley said the Roadway settlement was negotiated based on sale prices of other truck terminals, including the former Consolidated Freightways terminal in Middlesex, which was sold after that firm filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Yellow travels in fast company

Business magnate John Wanamaker once said half the money he spent on marketing was wasted — he just didn’t know which half.

But executives whose companies use NASCAR as an advertising vehicle say they can track almost to the dollar the return on their investment.

One of them is James Welch, president and chief executive officer of Yellow Transportation, a division of Overland Park-based YRC Worldwide Inc., which became involved in the racing business in 1997.

Yellow is unusual in the world of NASCAR in that most companies involved in such sponsorships are consumer brands such as Sprint Nextel and Home Depot, while Yellow is a business-to-business company. But the company believes that among the estimated 75 million NASCAR fans in the U.S. are many business decision makers and that their decisions may include who ships their products.

“We became involved in racing for several reasons, but primarily to build our business, and the return on investment is very important to us, and it’s something we can track,” Welch said.

Yellow started almost 10 years ago as an associate sponsor in the Craftsman Truck Series, and today it sponsors a car in the NASCAR Busch Series. The team’s driver, Johnny Sauter, ranks in the top 10 in points standing. And this weekend Yellow is the title sponsor of the Busch 300-mile race at Kansas Speedway.

There are three reasons Yellow is involved in racing, Welch said: to build its customer base, to build esprit de corps among its 25,000 employees and to build brand identity.

“We have 300,000 customers across the country, and a lot of those customers enjoy racing, and it allows us to have what we call relationship-building events,” Welch said.

This weekend Yellow will play host to 400 to 500 customers in its tent at the speedway.

Welch, who declined to reveal the company’s financial investment in NASCAR, said tracking the return on investment was fairly simple.

“We know who comes to these events, and we can track their spending with us and follow that throughout the year,” Welch said. “We find that typically those customers who attend our racing events, our business with them grows faster and more.”

Another reason to be involved in racing, Welch said, is that many of the company’s employees are racing fans.

“It’s a rallying point for our employees,” Welch said. “When you see your car on TV, you make a connection, you feel proud.”

NLRB Rules Massachusetts FedEx Home Delivery Drivers Are Direct Employees

The National Labor Relations Board
(NLRB) has ruled that full-time, regular part-time and swing drivers at two
Wilmington, Massachusetts FedEx Home Delivery locations are direct
employees under the company's business model and have the right to seek
union representation.
The ruling is the seventh time since 1988 that the NLRB has found
drivers at FedEx Home Delivery are direct employees despite the company's
assertion that they are "independent operators." First Region NLRB Director
Rosemary Pye ruled that due to the control and restrictions enforced by
FedEx on drivers in the Home Delivery division, they are employees within
the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act.
"This is a great victory for these workers in Wilmington," said Jim
Hoffa, Teamsters Union General President. "These rulings are exposing
FedEx's underhanded business model, designed to deny thousands of
hardworking employees benefits they deserve as direct employees."
In accordance with the decision, Teamsters Local 25 in Boston will
begin the process for scheduling an election under the NLRA guidelines.
This is the second ruling by the NLRB this year that found FedEx Home
Delivery drivers in Massachusetts are direct employees.
"The FedEx Ground model has been proven to be wrong again and again,"
said Sean O'Brien, Local 25 President. These drivers don't want any more
false FedEx promises. The company must admit the drivers are employees and
respect their rights."

Teamsters Continue Strong Momentum Building Union Power at USF Bestway

A unit of 58 USF Bestwayworkers at the San Leandro, California terminal have followed workers in Modesto and Sacramento in California to become the newest organized USFBestway workers. San Leandro workers are the third unit organized during
the past two months under the Teamster card-check neutrality agreement with
the company, which was ratified on July 2.
The dockworkers, line drivers and city drivers in the West will be
organized through the Master Bestway Agreement card-check neutrality clause
negotiated in the Southwest and Southeast.
Forty workers -- nearly 70 percent of the unit -- in San Leandro signed
cards to form a union for increased job security, seniority rights, a way
to address favoritism and improved pension benefits. Because a majority of
workers signed authorization cards, the company recognized their wish to
form a union. The card-check neutrality clause allowed Local 70 to organize
the workers in less than 30 days.
Teamsters will be working to organize additional USF Bestway locations
that are nonunion within the coming months.
"Our momentum continues to build because USF Bestway workers want more
security for themselves and for their families," said Chuck Mack,
Secretary- Treasurer of Local 70, which will represent the San Leandro
workers. "USF Bestway workers know that Teamster contracts will make their
lives better."
The Teamsters Freight Division represents the interests of more than
80,000 Teamsters members from approximately 238 local unions. Freight
employees include truck drivers, dockworkers, mechanics, and office

Majority of Shareholders Back Teamsters in Demanding Accountability From FedEx

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters' shareholder proposal offered today at FedEx Corp.'s annual meeting of stockholders received about 46 percent of the votes cast, which represents a majority of the shares cast by outside shareholders.

The proposal sought to change the voting standard to elect directors to the board from the current plurality system to a majority vote system.

"FedEx shareholders want accountability from their elected representatives on the board," said C. Thomas Keegel, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer. "The present voting system dangerously insulates board members regardless of their performance."

In response to strong shareholder support, at least 100 companies in the past two years, including Intel, Dell, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Safeway, Home Depot, Gannett and Supervalu, have adopted a similar majority vote standard in company bylaws. Additionally, these companies have adopted director resignation policies in their bylaws or corporate governance policies to address post-election issues related to the status of director nominees that fail to win election.

"We call on the FedEx board to heed shareholders' strong demand for accountability and adopt a majority vote standard for the election of board directors," Keegel said.