Builders who order specialty supplies from New York-based 475 High Performance Building Supply can stop looking for the FedEx delivery truck.
The company has announced it will stop using FedEx “wherever possible” because of corporate support for the National Rifle Association and will use alternatives like UPS instead. The statement, posted on the company’s website March 15, said reducing gun violence is as much an “existential imperative” as cutting carbon emissions through better building practices.
“Arming U.S. citizens with automatic weapons is not a result of a vote or even popular opinion, but allowed by politicians whose opinions are bought and coerced by the National Rifle Association,” the statement said. “The same way an individual building project can fight fossil fuel interests, individual companies are now asked to stand up and refuse to engage with those who prioritize unfettered gun sales over common sense.”
A FedEx marketing program that gives discounted rates to members of the NRA was behind the move, said chief operating officer Ken Levenson, and 475 was inspired by such companies as Ben & Jerry’s, Delta and Patagonia in distancing themselves from the pro-gun lobbying organization. The move comes at a time of intense political pressure on Congress to toughen gun laws, including the student-led“March for Our Lives” protests over the weekend.
The company said FedEx support for the NRA’s “extremist, deadly, and socially destructive positions” should be resisted, adding, “Hence we will not willfully use or fund companies that counteract our values and compromise our planet and people’s overall well being.”
Despite the switch, the company said customers shouldn’t experience slower delivery schedules. Four-seven-five sells a variety of air-sealing, insulation, and ventilation products not generally available in Big Box stores, including tapes, gaskets, membranes, and adhesives popular with high-performance builders.
Levenson said 475 will continue to use FedEx in Canada, but will be able to find alternatives in the U.S. 99% of the time.
“We can’t get rid of FedEx entirely,” he said by telephone, “and we don’t think that boycotting this company or that company is going to rock the world. But we want to show some pressure, and contribute to some momentum.”
FedEx spells out position
In a statement of its own, FedEx says it is aware of “some continuing concerns related to the NRA.”
FedEx says the NRA is one of hundreds of organizations enrolled in a marketing program whose members get lower rates for shipping.
The statement reads in part, “FedEx is a common carrier under federal law and therefore does not and will not deny service or discriminate against any leal entity regardless of their policy positions or political views.” The price breaks are for businesses and people who belong to the NRA, not for the NRA itself.
FedEx adds that it does not believe assault rifles should be in the hands of U.S. citizens.
“While we strongly support the constitutional right of U.S. citizens to own firearms subject to appropriate background checks, FedEx views assault rifles and large capacity magazines as an inherent potential danger to schools, workplaces, and communities when such weapons are misused,” the statement said “We therefore support restricting them to the military. Most important, FedEx believes urgent action is required at the local, state, and federal level to protect schools and students from incidents such as the horrific tragedy in Florida on February 14th.”
Levenson called the FedEx statements a “distraction trying to move people’s eyes off the ball,” adding the company could alter the voluntary marketing program to exclude the NRA without running afoul of any federal regulations.
“The NRA is such a fundamentally bad actor in our democracy that when someone is given the opportunity to put some daylight between it, we hope they take it,” Levenson said.