NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- FedEx's ( FDX) incredible surge in quarterly profit may be interpreted by some as evidence against a Congressional proposal that would make it easier to unionize its drivers. After a 146% surge in net income at FedEx for the fiscal third quarter, the argument could be made that this kind of growth is only possible because current laws governing FedEx make unionization more difficult. The counterpoint comes from UPS ( UPS), which bizarrely is governed by a different set of laws that are more favorable to unionization. We won't see UPS earnings until next month, but analysts are only expecting about 9% growth in EPS for the first quarter, according to TheStreet's UPS earnings center.. UPS itself only predicts "slightly better" earnings for the quarter. Investors like what they see from FedEx better than UPS, as this 1-year share price chart shows (that's FedEx in green at the top).
UPS is hoping that the laws will change in its favor because Democrats control Congress and President Obama is in the White House. I can't fault UPS for wanting a level playing field. Since No law change being discussed would help reduce union influence, UPS naturally favors giving organized labor a better chance at becoming established at FedEx.
That's the core of the debate about the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which contains a provision that would reclassify FedEx Express drivers to make it easier to be organized by labor unions. That provision, however, was stripped out of the Senate version, so it's not clear whether it will survive. The political debate could be more profound if pros and cons of organized labor are truly debated on the merits. Unions certainly served a noble purpose during unenlightened periods when companies failed to appreciate the value of their human resources. The big question is whether that unenlightened period is over or not. Is the better solution to unionize FedEx or de-unionize UPS? That won't be debated in Congress, but you can do so here by posting a comment. --Written by Glenn Hall in New York. You can also read Today's Outrage on