UPS vs. FedEx Whiteboard Video

Reason‘s Nick Gillespie has a bit of fun with the UPS-FedEx fight to make a larger argument about unions.

What’s particularly amusing about this is that, rather than seeking to get the favorable regulatory treatment that FedEx enjoys, UPS is fighting to put FedEx under the same onerous rules.

I’m reminded of the old joke about the Russian who gets a wish from a genie and complains that his neighbor has two cows while he only has one.  The genie asks, “So, would you like a second cow?  Or a third?”   “No,” says the peasant.  “I want you to kill one of my neighbor’s cows.”

via Glenn Reynolds

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I thought the larger argument was demonstrating the dangers of an out of control government that will pick winners and losers based upon forms of graft.

  2. Trumwill says:

    Another interesting issue is that despite UPS having more favorable terms for its employees, they do not have better corporate-business relations. Rather than being rewarded for their generosity (at gunpoint), they had to deal with that strike many years ago*.

    It’s sort of like sports unions. The strongest union in sports is professional baseball. All things considered, baseball players are the best compensated and have the least in terms of salary caps and whatnot. Meanwhile, despite the more favorable employee environment, the fear of baseball strikes is more ever-present than football strikes.

    * – I actually sided with the workers on that. They were asking for some pretty reasonable things, in my view. But the point is that FedEx didn’t have those headaches.

  3. Mithras says:

    Wow. Gillespie is quite smug, isn’t he?

    The most important point for me was the assertion about the comparative labor costs. One company operates a lot of trucks; maybe higher labor costs would be something you’d expect?

    Also, is the idea here that unions are somehow bad for business? Because that also-smug UPS whiteboard dude is everywhere. And my real UPS guy always seems to get the packages where they need to go, something that I can’t always say about Fedex Ground. Ohhhh, the point is that workers who have to unionize are losers who suck. Thanks, Gillespie.