FedEx Corp. spent nearly $4.9 million lobbying the federal government in the first quarter, according to a disclosure report.
That's well above the $1.6 million that the package delivery company's larger rival UPS spent in the same period and more than double the $2.4 million that FedEx spent in the year-ago quarter. The Memphis, Tenn., company spent $4.7 million on lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2009.
In the fourth quarter, the company continued to lobby Congress on the FAA reauthorization bill, which will speed up replacement of radar-based air traffic control with a more advanced satellite-based system. FedEx had been vocal in its opposition to a small section of the bill, which would have made it easier for its workers to unionize because it would have moved employees to a new federal classification. It has compared the section to a "bailout" for UPS, saying it would cripple FedEx's ability to keep costs low. UPS is already heavily unionized.
The version of the FAA bill that passed in the House contained the section that would reclassify FedEx drivers under the National Labor Relations Act, allowing them to unionize one terminal at a time. The version that passed the Senate did not contain that section.
The company also lobbied on general transportation issues, the Employee Free Choice Act, bills that would support the creation of "clean energy" jobs and general budget matters.