FedEx Express pilots voted in favor of authorizing a strike as contract negotiations under a federal mediator continue, according to an announcement Wednesday.
The Air Line Pilots Association, International, known as ALPA, said in a news release that with more than 97% of members participating, 99% of FedEx pilots authorized union leaders to call a strike if needed.
In order to strike, the pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, must be released by the National Mediation Board and exhaust a 30-day cooling-off period first, according to the union.
“Our goal is to reach an agreement, not to strike,” Capt. Chris Norman, chair of the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council, said in a statement. “The ball is in management’s court, and it’s time for the Company to get serious at the bargaining table and invest in our pilots.”
The current contract pilots are working under became amenable in November 2021. FedEx Express and the labor union representing the pilots have been negotiating through federal mediation since last year in an attempt to expedite the process.
The two sides have made some progress, including on retirement issues. But the union said in February that contract talks stalled, and it inched closer to a strike authorization vote by granting Norman the ability to call for such a vote among union members. In a March opinion piece for Supply Chain Dive, Norman said management has refused to provide the pay needed for a ratifiable agreement.
"Meanwhile, Delta, Hawaiian and other airline management teams have successfully negotiated significantly improved agreements with their pilots," Norman said.
Members of the union's negotiating committee said in March that the two sides discussed a concept allowing for "increased pay rates based on specific economic performance metrics of FedEx," but negotiators said it wasn't a replacement for acceptable guaranteed rate increases.
FedEx said in an emailed statement that strike authorization votes are a common tactic for labor organizations and noted that a strike can only occur with the permission of the National Mediation Board.
"The results of ALPA’s strike authorization has no impact on our service as we continue delivering for our customers around the world," FedEx said.