- FedEx Express and the union for its pilots have made progress in key areas of contract negotiations as the federal mediation process continues, according to a union representative.
- "In our case, when we entered expedited mediation, we had per diem, duration, pay, and retirement" as sections of the contract still to be addressed, First Officer Brian Baldwin said on a union podcast, published Jan. 27. "As of this recording, we're down to just pay and duration." Duration refers to the length of the contract.
- FedEx Express and Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) filed for federal mediation in October, nearly a year after the pilots' current contract became amenable in November 2021. The company has stressed that the move, which is expected to expedite the negotiation process, will not impact its service or operations.
Reaching an agreement on retirement issues is a notable step forward in negotiations between FedEx Express and the union, considering pension plan improvements were a top priority for pilots entering the mediation process.
A union leader told Supply Chain Dive in October that no substantive changes have been made to the pension plan since it was established in 1999, despite attempts to do so during negotiations in 2006 and 2015.
“So do I think we will fix the retirement? Absolutely," said Capt. Chris Norman, chair of the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council. "I think the problem is, how long will this take? Will it be dragged out past this expedited session?”
Now, the focus of negotiations has narrowed to reaching agreements on pay and contract duration. Baldwin, who is also executive administrator of the Master Executive Council, didn't provide specifics in the podcast on the union's goals on either topic. The current contract went into effect in Nov. 2015 and became amenable six years later.
There's no time limit for the parties to come to an agreement in the federal mediation process, which the National Mediation Board oversees. Baldwin said that talks will continue as long as the board, with coordination from the mediator assigned to the case, believes the parties can reach a deal. FedEx has expressed optimism that the process will resolve the remaining issues.
“We continue to negotiate in good faith with our pilots and are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to our pilots, our other team members, and all other stakeholders," the company said in a statement Wednesday. "These negotiations have no impact on our service.”
UPS pilots represented by the Independent Pilots Association ratified a two-year contract extension agreement with the company in August. However, the FedEx rival has another round of high-stakes labor negotiations ahead. Its current contract with the Teamsters, who represent 350,000 UPS workers, is set to expire July 31.