Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Problem With Rick Santorum's Support for Unions

During the 2012 election, Rick Santorum has taken a hard stance against public sector unions but his record reveals that he has a soft spot for private sector unions:
  1. On June 15th1993, Rick Santorum voted for Cesar Chavez Workplace Fairness Act (HR 5) which prohibits employers from hiring permanent replacements when employees strike over wages or benefits.
  2. In the 104th Congress Sen. Santorum joined all Democrats and a minority of Republicans in voting to filibuster the bill S. 1788, the National Right to Work Act of 1995. (“On the Cloture Motion (motion to invoke cloture on motion to proceed to consider S.1788),” Senate Bill Clerk, Vote Number: 188,, 7/10/1996)
  3. During that same congressional session, Santorum also voted to retain the 1930s-era Davis-Bacon Act that forces taxpayers to pay union wages in government-funded construction and gives Big Labor an unfair advantage over non-union companies and workers (“On the Motion to Table (motion to table Kennedy Amendment No. 4031 to S.Amdt. 4000 to S.Con.Res. 57),” Senate Bill Clerk, Vote Number: 134,, 5/22/1996)
  4. He also voted against allowing a waiver of Davis-Bacon in emergency situations.
  5. Has flipped flopped on his positions regarding unions. He routinely supported them but then abandoned them as soon as he started running for President. 
  6. He also voted for Alexis Herman in which she was appointed by Bill Clinton to be Secretary of Labor.
  7. He voted for a law to require a union representative on an IRS oversight board and also voted to exempt IRS union representative from criminal ethics laws. He also voted against creating independent Board of Governors to investigate IRS abuses.
  8. He voted twice for the Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1995 (HR 743 & S Amdt 4438) which amends the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 to allow employers to form labor-management cooperative organizations with employees without the presence of a union.
  9. He also voted twice for the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996 which would have forced Fedex to accept local unions (H.R. 3539)
Most bloggers simply provide a list of Rick Santorum's voting record as reasons why people shouldn't vote for him since each of the bills that he has supported has increase the power, size and influence of private sector unions. However, most bloggers stop there and do not continue their investigation for more facts about Santorum's ties with private sector unions. 
For example, I did some further investigation by using to see if Rick Santorum had accepted donations from any unions at all. I discovered that as a result of Rick Santorum's soft spot for private sector unions, he had no qualms in accepting campaign donations from them while he was in Washington D.C.:
The public record of Santorum accepting private section union political contributions certainly lends support to the claim that he likes private sector unions. This may explain why Santorum has gone hard after public sector unions during the 2012 presidential primary election but conveniently fails to mention his support for private sector unions. However, for conservatives, supporting private or public sector unions is unacceptable. 
As I continued to dig further into Rick Santorum's support for private sector unions, I discovered that when he voted twice in support of Fedex Unionization, he was in the middle of a long standing battle between two large shipping companies. When it came time to pick a side, he chose to support the pro-union company United Parcel Service (UPS) that was attempting to force its competitor, Federal Express (FedEx), to accept local unions in their company.
The Battle Between UPS & FedEx
To understand how badly Rick Santorum betrayed the conservative principles of supporting the free market, you have to understand the story behind the long standing feud between UPS and FedEx. 
The source of contention between these two companies arises from the fact that FedEx operates under a different federal law than UPS does which makes it easier or difficult for employees to form unions. FedEx currently operates under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) which makes labor organization more difficult since employees working for FedEx cannot form unions on a location by location basis but it must be done through a company wide vote in which every employee must vote in a single nationwide election and must obtain a majority not just of the workers voting but of voters and non-voters combined.
The reason why FedEx operates under the RLA is because when FedEx became a company in 1971, it was chiefly an air transport company in which it shipped mail and packages by plane. Later, FedEx expanded its operations to include trucks who would deliver the items that were shipped by plane.
In Federal Express Corporation v. California Public Utilities Commission (936 F. 2d 1075), the 9th Circuit of Appeals explained why FedEx falls under the RLA:
The trucking operations of Federal Express are integral to its operation as an air carrier. The trucking operations are not some separate business venture; they are part and parcel of the air delivery system. Every truck carries packages that are in interstate commerce by air. The use of the trucks depends on the conditions of air delivery. The timing of the trucks is meshed with the schedules of the planes. Federal Express owes some of its success to its effective use of trucking as part of its air carrier service.
"Federal Express is exactly the kind of an expedited all-cargo service that Congress specified and the kind of integrated transportation system that was federally desired. Because it is an integrated system, it is a hybrid, an air carrier employing trucks. Those trucks do not destroy its status as an air carrier. They are an essential part of the all cargo air service that Federal Express innovatively developed to meet the demands of an increasingly interlinked nation."
Unlike FedEx, UPS is governed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which allows for unionization at the local level. As a result, UPS has local teamsters unions whereas FedEx doesn't. UPS can't compete with a non-union company because of the costs associated with allowing unions as part of the day to day operations which makes it more expensive for customers to ship their packages with UPS than it does with FedEx.
That's why UPS made repeated attempts through lobbying and support of Democrats in Congress to get FedEx to operate under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) instead of the Railway Labor Act (RLA). 
The Legislative Battle To Unionize FedEx
UPS, Unions and the Democrats have been, and still are, determined to force FedEx to accept local teamsters unions. Let me review the history of that battle with you.
When Congress was considering passing the ICC Termination Act of 1995, a key term, "express company” was removed from the coverage provision of the RLA. UPS and its allies contend that this deletion was intentional while FedEx and its allies claim that the deletion of that term was unintentional. The reason why the term, "express company" is because the deletion of that key term may have required FedEx to operate under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) instead of the Railway Labor Act (RLA). However, the facts clearly indicate that "Congress did not knowingly and intentionally strike the phrase "express carrier" and, by doing so, intend to strip Federal Express of decades-old rights" of operating under the RLA.
 In 1995, Congress worked on passing the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1995 was bill that was to provide reauthorization of the FAA and to approve new airport security measures. To fix the accidental removal of the key term in the ICC Termination Act, Senator Ernest Hollings, (D. S.C.) offered a technical amendment to the Conference Report accompanying H.R. 3539, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1995. The Hollings amendment firmly establishes that FedEx Express was an “express company,” and would still be subject to the RLA.
The Conference Committee approved it and it went back to the House for a final vote. The late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, (D. Mass) tried to filibuster the entire Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1995 to prevent the Hollings Amendment from becoming law. However, the fillibuster failed and it was subsequently sent to the White House to be signed by the President. Despite angry approval from liberals and Democrats over the Hollings Amendment which was now part of the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1995, President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law. 
The Ongoing Battle Between UPS & FedEx 
Before I discuss Rick Santorum's votes on the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996, its important to point out UPS and its allies are still working to force FedEx to unionize. 
A decade after Congress passed Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1995 and was signed by President Clinton, Rep. James Oberstar, (D. Minn.) introduced a rider to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007 which he called the “Express Carrier Employee Protection” Amendment, would amend the RLA to remove FedEx Express ground transportation employees from the coverage of the RLA and make them subject to the NLRA. Representative Oberstar's amendment was approved by the House but was not included in the Senate version of the bill and efforts to reconcile the two bills were unsuccessful. As a result, The FAA Act 2007 was not reauthorized, and the agency has recieved temporary extensions since its expiration in 2007.
In 2009, Rep. James Oberstar, who became the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, made a second attempt to have his RLA amendment inserted as rider to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009. The House approved the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 with the Oberstar's amendment attached to it. FedEx mobilized to ensure that the Olberstrar's amendment would not appear in the Senate version of the bill or in the final version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009. 
Section 806 of the House version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 become a hotly contested issue for both UPS and FedEx in the Senate. Fortunately, FedEx prevailed and was victorious against UPS.  neither Section 806 or the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 became law.
Had this bill passed, it would have had major consequences for FedEx and for our nation if both companies were unionized:
Since the US small parcel market is currently structured as a duopoly, the fear exists that the union could easily affect price and service in the form of coordinated work interruptions. If FedEx and UPS employees instituted a work stoppage at the same time, shippers in the US would be left with USPS for all parcels, and they simply don’t have the breadth and depth of services UPS and Fedex have.
During the 2010 midterm election, Rep. James Oberstar, was defeated and Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) who is now the current chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced H.R. 658, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011. In this bill so far, there has been no attempt to force FedEx to unionize and Democrats will not prevail in any attempts to do so due the fact that the Democrats suffered heavy losses in the 2010 midterm election.
Rick Santorum Sides With Unions
Now that you understand the repeated attempts by UPS, Democrats and socialists to unionize FedEx, it becomes clear why Rick Santorum voted twice for the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996 is a real betrayal to the conservative approach to labor issues and the free market. When it came time to supporting unions or non-union companies, he was clearly, unambiguously and undoubtedly on the side of the unions.
This fact is even more offensive when you consider that he received $14,000 in campaign donations from FedEx while working in Washington D.C.:
Even worse, he also received $11,199 in campaign donations from UPS: 
Its clear that while Rick Santorum was receiving money from both sides of the battle, he ultimately sided with the pro-union company rather than the non-union one. 
As a result, moderates, independents, tea partiers and conservatives cannot support Rick Santorum in the 2012 Republican Primaries and allow him to become the Republican nominee due to his support for private sector unions.

1 comment:

  1. Rick Santorum is a JOBS killer. Just Say No to Santorum. With Newt we will have the American Solutions we need and not the Unionista Marxist Communist Solutions Santorum peddles.