I’ve been following the story of Fed-Ex’s inaccurate, anti-union, smear campaign against UPS with some interest:
The clash revolves around legislation that would clear the way for FedEx drivers to organize with the Brotherhood of Teamsters, just as UPS’s drivers are. FedEx opposed the measure, which was supported by both UPS and the Teamsters, and set up a website titled “brownbailout.com” that accuses UPS of “quietly seeking a congressional bailout designed to limit competition for overnight deliveries, leaving Americans with a less reliable next-day delivery network for critical goods like medicines and essential inventory.”
“Why is megacorporation UPS trying to use its political clout to get a bailout from the U.S. Congress, leaving you to pay the tab?” the FedEx website asks.
What surprised me was that conservatives were weighing in on the side of UPS (and thus of the Teamsters):
But a letter signed by former Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.) and the leaders of Americans for Tax Reform, Frontiers for Freedom, the American Conservative Union, 60 Plus, Citizen Outreach, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the National Taxpayers Union alleges that FedEx is mischaracterizing the situation and unfairly trying to tap into public resentment against federal bailouts to attack its competition.
As far as I can tell, this letter is completely accurate.
Why would wingers be taking the side of unions? Here’s why:
The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group’s support in a bitter legislative dispute, then the group’s chairman flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay.
For the $2 million plus, ACU offered a range of services that included: “Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU’s Chairman David Keene and/or other members of the ACU’s board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)”
The conservative group’s remarkable demand — black-and-white proof of the longtime Washington practice known as “pay for play” — was contained in a private letter to FedEx , which was provided to POLITICO.
I’m now going to say something that will cause many of you to call me a sap: Politico, and Mike Allen in particular, has done a much better job than any other mainstream source of documenting various pay-to-play schemes, such as this one and the WaPo message parlor story.