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FedEx drivers finally fed up

Marketplace Staff Oct 19, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: The business model at FedEx could be in trouble. The delivery company classifies its drivers as independent contractors, not employees. That saves FedEx a bundle on employment expenses.

But some drivers have filed a lawsuit claiming they’re employees. This week, a federal judge in Indiana granted their suit class-action status. That means it could affect thousands of FedEx drivers, and cost the company millions.

Gary Chaison is a labor relations professor at Clark University. He says employers argue they need flexibility in how they classify workers:

Gary Chaison: There’s an element of truth to that. But =on the same time, they . . . we really have to ask, who is at a disadvantage in that evolution of the workplace? And often, that’s the individual employee who may feel as if they’re . . . have a long-term attachment to their employer. But in fact, that’s something that’s very tenuous, and they don’t enjoy full rights.

An official with FedEx says the company will appeal the Judge’s decision.

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