Wait a second, Congress passes one-company laws?!

Can someone explain this? This WaPo story makes it sound like Congress is considering a bill to reclassify a single company, namely FedEx, under various labor rules.

I’m given to understand that FedEx is a purely private entity, right?

Is this something Congress usually does? Am I getting a misimpression about the nature of the bill from a badly written story?

Does anyone have a clues about this? Really curious here, and if the blegosphere doesn’t clue me in, I’m going to have to call my MoC’s local office and start interrogating. Which might be fun.

Speculation in the comments about whether this is constitutional are also encouraged. (Consider: bills of attainder clause, equal protection clause & “class of one” caselaw, due process clause, general separation-of-powers principles*.) Anti-union diatribes are welcome, I suppose, but will annoy me (likewise pro-union diatribes).

(H/T: Eric’s twitter.)


* classifying a single company seems like a judicial function, or, with the appropriate legislative authority, a function for some administrative agency within the executive branch. Not Congress.

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7 Responses to “Wait a second, Congress passes one-company laws?!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    It’s hard to look up the details, but googling around I found FedEx’s website protesting this and I think This is the relevant bill.

    It looks like the upshot is that it’s broadening the classification of what sorts of package delievry companies are under the jurisdiction of the Railway Labor Act, and that because there just aren’t that many big package delivery companies, the law seems to have an effect close to “it applies to UPS” to “it applies to UPS and FedEx.” But FedEx isn’t explicitly mentioned, instead it just generalizes what sorts of methods of shipping qualify for being under the Railway Labor Act.

  2. Paul Gowder Says:

    Thanks anon!

  3. Eric Says:

    Some background (and omitting my customary pro-union diatribe against FedEx): Congress amended the RLA circa 1997, deleting the obsolete category of “railway express” companies, which vanished when the Railway Express Agency went bankrupt in the 1970s (as a train geek, I have a special fondness for the old “REA” box and refrigerator cars). This would have had the effect of putting FedEx under the NLRA — like every other company in the same business. But FedEx wanted to protect its non-union status, so they spent more than $1 million to lobby for a special revision to the revision, to keep them under the RLA.

    So, the point of this pending amendment is simply to bring FedEx in line with all its competitors, as should have happened years ago. They didn’t complain about special treatment then and they have no legitimate complaint now.

    Full disclosure: Having spent a grueling year of my life litigating against FedEx’s Ground division and its shady employment practices (a case that is still ongoing and shows no signs of ending any time in the foreseeable future), I admit to having a grudge. Just seeing one of those trucks puts me in an unbelievably bad mood.

  4. Paul Gowder Says:

    Yeah, no question that they ought to be subject to the same union regs as everyone else — I was just wondering if a one-company bill is the way to do it. But it sounds like on your account, the real problem is that they got a one-company exception in the first place.

  5. Tony Says:

    FedEx is the only company in the transportation industry with drivers, package handlers, and other non-airline employees covered by the Railway Labor Act.

    Bailout? lol

    UPS is the strongest company in it’s industry and is not seeking a “BAILOUT” from Congress….the company is working to eliminate the advantage given ONLY to FedEx.

    It does not mean FEDEX will become unionized, that would be up to the employees.

    When Fedex delivers a package to your door it is not delivered by a pilot of an airplane, the package must be placed on the truck and delivered by a driver to your door.

    Fedex should fall under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) as does all other commercial drivers in the US… ALL COMMERCIAL DRIVERS, not just UPS. This is not just about FEDEX and UPS.

  6. Freddie Cook Says:

    in order to have good busines practice, good labor relations is very important.~~:

  7. Dumbbell Set Weights  Says:

    labor relations should always be keep in good condition for businesses to prosper~’`

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