The labor union representing FedEx Express pilots says contract negotiations with the company have stalled, moving the union closer to holding a vote to approve a strike.
The union leader for FedEx Express pilots has been granted the ability to call for a strike authorization vote among its members in a special meeting Friday, according to a resolution from the FedEx Express Master Executive Council, which is part of the Air Line Pilots Association, International. The ALPA's president, Jason Ambrosi, also backed the measure.
“FedEx pilots are committed to reaching a deal with management, but we will not waiver in our commitment to deliver a contract that rewards pilots for their sacrifices to build FedEx into the global leader it is today,” Chris Norman, Master Executive Council chair, said in a statement. “Although a strike authorization vote has not been called at this time, our customers and shareholders should be aware that the pilots may be headed in that direction shortly.”
The approval for such a vote to be called comes after nearly six months of federally mediated negotiations between FedEx Express and the union. The current contract became amenable in November 2021, and the two parties went to the National Mediation Board in October in a bid to expedite the contract talks.
FedEx Express and the union have made progress during the talks, as a union representative noted in January that the two sides reached an agreement on retirement issues. The representative, First Officer Brian Baldwin, said terms regarding pay and contract duration were still being negotiated.
"The items that remain between the Airline Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) and FedEx are so few, they can fit onto a single sheet of paper," according to the Master Executive Council's website.
Since pilots are covered under the Railway Labor Act, they must be released by the National Mediation Board and have a 30-day cooling-off period be exhausted before they can strike, per the Master Executive Council. The strike authorization vote also has to be held.
"If management does not show up at the table, we must send a very clear message that FedEx pilots are unified and ready to strike," Norman said in a message to union members.
FedEx said in a bargaining update that the decision has no impact on its service, adding that strike authorization votes are a common union tactic during negotiations under the Railway Labor Act. It also said negotiations with its pilots remain productive.
“FedEx is fully committed to working with our pilots and the National Mediation Board to reach a comprehensive agreement,” the company said. “We are confident that we can do so, while also delivering the best possible service to our customers, without any disruptions to our operations just as we have done in each previous bargaining cycle.”