Saturday, August 8, 2009

FedEx/UPS Resemble Candidates in an Election Year

What's going on?

The raging battle between FedEx and UPS looks more like mudslinging congressional candidates in a fierce battle for office than the top-tier corporations they claim to be.

First, take the allegations that surfaced late last week regarding UPS employees being coerced into letter-writing and lobbying against FedEx. UPS has already admitted that it paid for employees' time and supplies to write letter lobbying representatives that the present classification of FedEx as an airline creates unfair competition (UPS is classified as a trucking company and, thus, uses Teamsters labor resources). UPS claims the participation in the campaign to be voluntary.

Although alleged at this time, a number of reputable sources have been reporting that the UPS characterization of the activity is incorrect. Some (now former) UPS employees have been vocal about thier employer's heavy-handed tactics and their expectation that employees would follow lock-step.

Although aggressive and disturbing, UPS isn't the only one at fault. FedEx launched a website months back to put its own propaganda into the market. In the offices of PA & Associates, we received more than one e-mail from FedEx staff encouraging us to visit the site and side with the FedEx position that UPS is just another large corporation seeking federal government financial assistance.

As a normal course of our projects, I have sat in a number of UPS and FedEx presentations where representatives attempt be on their best behavior in hopes of landing the small package business of our clients. Underneath the calm demeanor and clenched teeth, each exhibits a seething dislike for the other; remembering the echoes of their Zig Ziglar training and sales manager's admonitions to only sell on the merits of their service and not to disparage their competitors. Unfortunately, most of them (on both sides) can't help themselves.

It remains to be seen as to the outcome of the FedEx issues and the discussions which are ongoing as to the status of their network. One thing you can be sure of; the propaganda machines are hard at work on both sides -- be it a "Purple" spin or a "Brown" spin.

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