Though FedEx employees are risking their lives, their pay has been cut and all they've received in return is a pin. They also can't unionize.
FedEx CEO Fred Smith broke national headlines earlier this year when he took a 91 percent pay cut for six months, agreeing to a $1 per pay period salary from April 1 through September 30. While individuals praised the chairman for his "philanthropy," what they did not know was that FedEx employees had received a $2 pay cut despite working through the ongoing pandemic. Recently, employees also received a pin in thanks and appreciation of their dedication to their jobs. However, they did not receive hazard pay or any other monetary benefits. To worsen the situation, major news publications have refused to acknowledge the plight of these essential workers.
Reddit user Eternity_Mask threw light on the situation when they posted an image of the pin they received on the site. Stuck to a pamphlet, the pin read, "#FedExStrong." The company stated on the pamphlet, "Thank you for delivering strength when it's needed most! This is who we are and what we do. Wear this pin with pride!" Of course, it is difficult to do so when you are barely earning minimum wage while performing one of the riskiest jobs in the country at the moment. Delivery professionals are at a greater risk of contracting Coronavirus as they come in close contact with several individuals throughout the day.
"FedEx showed its appreciation for its essential employees with this and a $2 pay cut," the Reddit user wrote. "Thanks, FedEx." Several users, also employees of the delivery services company, shared their grievances. The top comment currently reads, "I work for this sh*thole company. I tried to put this pin in my hat and both needles broke off of it immediately. Pretty appropriate, considering. [I] never received any hazard pay either." Another added, "I worked there, got hurt, and they tried desperately to screw me over. Thank God for my lawyer, even though I'm still hurt (slipped two discs and tore another). Also, I'm not surprised to hear all these stories. The work is pretty fast-paced labor, and they really do not care about employees or the packages they move." Several others shared their own experiences, confirming that the firm cared little about the health and safety of its workers.
Fedex: thank you for risking your lives during this pandemic, here's a fucking pin. pic.twitter.com/CBdZzsflPi— Roberto. (@RobHerreraJr) July 8, 2020
This, in combination with the stories of racism that FedEx employees are subject to, has unearthed the terrible practices that the company perpetuates. The firm relies on contractors on-ground, which means management executives typically wash their hands of any responsibility. A veteran driver in Oak Park, Michigan said in an interview with NBC News, "FedEx could give two anythings about us. They are telling contractors, 'It's your company, you figure it out.' My contractor is doing what he can, but he's losing money left and right." The driver spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their job.
Damn #FedEx that is cold.— Mark J2157-3602 (@MarkDonut) July 8, 2020
you cut your employees paychecks by $2/hr in the middle of a pandemic and give them a pin?
you dudes deserve to fail. We still are wearing masks, it's still a pandemic.
I hope the bailout money from our backs was worth it, you demons. pic.twitter.com/NJJF9kZTMl
The company has also tried to fight off unionization so they can continue exploiting their employees in this fashion. Between 2015 and 2016, FedEx held several meetings wherein employees were discouraged from unionizing, an investigation by The Guardian uncovered earlier this year. "Human resources managers often cited anecdotes to dismiss union organizing," the news outlet noted. Bar these sparse reports, few national media publications have reported on the country-wide problem. This is inherently part of the issue. Only when we place pressure on the company to change its ways will they be forced to address the exploitation it is a party to. The firm stated in a press release earlier this year, "In this uncertain business environment, we’re taking proactive steps to best position FedEx for our employees, customers, and shareholders." It's time to shift that "position," FedEx.