FedEx Discount for NRA Draws LGBT, Anti-Gun Activist Rage

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Gays Against Guns protest FedEx, Hertz, and Wyndham Worldwide locations in Midtown Manhattan.
Gays Against Guns protest FedEx, Hertz, and Wyndham Worldwide locations in Midtown Manhattan. Credit: Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
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A coalition of gay-rights and gun-control activists is taking on FedEx for discounts it offers to members of the National Rifle Association, targeting the global shipper during the peak of the holiday season.

The group is launching an online campaign and plans protests on Wednesday at FedEx retail stores in Denver; Atlanta; Memphis, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida, said Igor Volsky, director of Guns Down, a Washington-based group that advocates for fewer guns in the U.S. and is one of 10 participating organizations. A Dec. 7 letter to the company got no response, he said. FedEx doesn't comment on specific customer agreements, Melissa Charbonneau, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

FedEx offers shipping discounts of as much as 26% to members of the NRA, the gun-rights group with 5 million members, as part of a program that also has special offers for Visa cards, according to Guns Down. Separate programs offer deals on Hertz rental cars and Wyndham hotels, according to the NRA website.

"FedEx is one of the biggest and most recognizable brands" with NRA discounts, Mr. Volsky said. "If they really value investing in under-served communities, which we think they do, then partnering with the NRA really undermines that mission."

LGBT groups have increased their anti-gun activism since a shooting in June that killed 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando. Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, added gun safety to its action platform for the first time this year, although it's not part of this campaign.

Guns Down is joined by Color of Change, which advocates for minorities, Newton Action Alliance and Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, Mr. Volsky said. Color of Change was credited for helping discourage companies from supporting this year's Republican National Convention because of President-elect Donald Trump's views on minorities.

Gays Against Guns, a separate group, also has targeted FedEx, Hertz and Wyndham for giving discounts to NRA members. In August, it called out BlackRock for investments in gun companies in index-based funds. The New York-based company has said it supports LGBT rights and that the gun investments are automatic, as part of the index, and not managed by BlackRock.

FedEx, which is based in Memphis, and United Parcel Service have forecast they will handle record package volumes this holiday shopping season, fueled by an estimated 17% jump in online spending. FedEx handled 325 million packages in the 2015 peak shipping season, and has hired more than 50,000 temporary workers for this year's period.

--Bloomberg News

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