Is it important for businesses to play an active role in the political process? History paints an active play on how businesses tend to exercise their political powers to influence special interests. Some could argue that this political influence dates back to the Revolutionary War. In today's changing and demanding society, businesses and Congress continues to play the political wars to influence their interests. In the Federal Express and Congress case, is it apparent that Federal Express exercised their political power to influence Congress to amend the Railway Labor Act or were they simply trying to correct a change that Congress made mistakenly? Or is Congress playing against one another because of their own political agenda? The FedEx Amendment was a technical fix to the Railway Labor Act. In 1995 Congress had inadvertently dropped the term "expressed company" from the language of the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act. The Railway Labor Act classifies Federal Express as an "air carrier" and the coverage not only protect the employees who operate and maintain the fleet, but also all employees who perform air carrier services.
When the words "express company" were unintentionally dropped, Federal Express became alarmed because some of their employees could technically not be covered under the Railway Labor Act. Congress easily got confused during the final revision of the Termination Act, there were several versions of the file that needed to be reconciled. Not recognizing companies that may still be classified as an "express company" (such as Federal Express), Congress felt the term was obsolete and consequently dropped the verbiage from the Termination Act and the Railway Labor Act. When Federal Express realized that the terminology was not supported in the Act, they wanted Congress to reinstate it. It is apparent that Federal Express did not exercise their political powers to influence Congress to restore the words "express company." It was clearly a mistake made by Congress. However, several attempts have been made by Federal Express to get the wording put back.
Congress had rejected their request each time. It was a natural concern that Federal Express displayed when they learned that the term was dropped. For some time, union labors have been knocking on Federal Express doors trying to get the organization to unionize their works. This unionization is something that Federal Express is not so concern in turning the organization into. Because the wording was dropped, it made Federal Express vulnerable to unions who thought this would be the opportunity to unionize the organization. It was up to Federal Express to work with Congress to pass an amendment that would correct the change.
It was not a maneuver made with trying to exercise their political powers through contributions, etc. However, some leaders within Congress saw this as a threat as elections were approaching. Some Congress leaders have made accusations, claiming that Federal Express is using their political powers, by giving generous contributions to specific individuals, to reinstate the terminology and to avoid potential union organizations to try to unionize Federal Express. Eventually, it was recognized that Congress was at fault and the terminology was reinserted into the Railway Labor Act. It is still unknown if political powers were being used on either side..