Brown Bailout heading towards a brownout

ups_hydralic_1.jpgWith the ascension of Rep. John Mica (R-FL) to the chairmanship of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, it’s all but certain that the contentious “Brown Bailout” provision in the FAA Reauthorization bill will go the way of other deal-breakers.

Mica, according to several published reports, is not likely to include the provision in the House’s version of the bill. The Senate had previously passed a version without the 230-word provision.

Nicknamed the Brown Bailout by FedEx, the provision would have classified FedEx Express truck drivers under the under the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Currently, all FedEx Express employees are classified under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which governs airlines.

The difference, and why the Teamsters and UPS fought so hard to include it in the next bill, would have made it easier to unionize those drivers.

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fedex-plane.jpg“Congress has concluded its work for the year without passing a new FAA Reauthorization bill. When the next Congress convenes on Jan. 5, 2011, it will need to draft a new FAA Reauthorization bill. Based on public statements by leadership in both chambers, there is reason to believe that the new bill will not contain the UPS bailout that we have fought against for the past two years,” said Maury Lane, director of media relations for FedEx Corp.

“In 2011 we will continue to support passage of FAA legislation that is free of special-interest provisions unrelated to air travel. Such legislation will result in much-needed air safety improvements and next generation navigation systems, as well as the thousands of jobs that will be created by improving airport infrastructure,” he added.

If this is the end of the Brown Bailout battle, I will be sorry to see it disappear. If this has proven one thing, it’s that both sides of the debate have wonderful senses of humor. From the original Brown Bailout website to the commercials to the Teamster’s hilarious video takes comparing truck drivers to pilots, the media campaigns on both sides has been fun to watch.

For previous Trucking Straight Talk blog posts on the history of the Brown Bailout, visit these pages:

Is Fedex playing fair?

Brown Bailout update: UPS goes on the attack

Senate denies Brown Bailout; UPS, FedEx react

UPS, FedEx Brown Bailout battle rages on

FAA bill passed, but Brown Bailout lingers on

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