FAA reauthorization should fly through in June, says lawmaker

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., predicted Wednesday that a multiyear FAA authorization bill will be signed into law by July 4.

"I think we've made enough progress and we ought to be able to get it done by then," he said. "We are working toward that goal. We'll get there, we'll do it."

House and Senate aides are informally meeting to clear out the underbrush in a bicameral deal, but discussions have not yet started on the contentious items. This includes House language making it easier for FedEx workers to unionize, which Oberstar strongly backs.

FedEx President Fred Smith recently said this dispute was holding up the conference talks.

"There is no delay; don't buy the Fred Smith garbage," Oberstar said.

He also accused Smith of having "bought his way" to securing federal affirmation in 1996 that employees at FedEx Express are correctly regulated under the Railroad Labor Act. "I'm being a little harsh on Mr. Smith, but he's been a little harsh on me," Oberstar said. He clarified, "He worked his way around the Senate very effectively and the Clinton White House as well."

Pro-labor Democrats and main FedEx rival UPS have argued that FedEx -- while initially an airline -- has become predominately a ground carrier and trucking operation subject to the National Labor Relations Act. The labor law allows employees to unionize in localized groups without the need for government mediation, while RLA requires unionization across nationwide classes of employees and a mandatory government-led mediation of contract disputes before a union can strike or an employer can replace an employee or impose terms of a contract.

When asked about Oberstar's comments, FedEx spokesman Maury Lane mainly took the high road.

"Chairman Oberstar could get a better understanding of Mr. Smith's concerns if he held a congressional hearing or took public input on the impact of this UPS bailout legislation," Lane said. "Until then, it would be fruitless to discuss much more on this issue, particularly since UPS has been trying to put itself under the RLA since its airline was created -- a fact Chairman Oberstar constantly ignores or fails to acknowledge."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.