FedEx pilots expressed disapproval over the proposed labor agreement, recently voting against the pact between their labor union and the company management.
Monday’s report from the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), disclosed that pilots turned down the draft agreement. The voting resulted in 57% against and 43% in favor of the pact, with over 5,000 members partaking in the process.
FedEx's pilot union earlier released details about the agreement in June, outlining provisions such as a 30% pay increase and a similar percentage hike to the pilots' legacy pension.
Reacting to the results, FedEx ALPA chair, Capt. Chris Norman, said, "Our members have voiced their opinion, and we are now set to reconsider and plan for the subsequent steps. In the forthcoming weeks, the FedEx ALPA leadership will convene to set a timeline for re-evaluating the pilot group's priorities. FedEx pilots stand as one, and this unity will pave the way towards an agreement that all FedEx pilots can confidently endorse."
FedEx Express pilots staged an informational picket on May 24, 2023, outside the FedEx Air Operations Center in Memphis. While the National Mediation Board is expected to hold a status conference involving both parties, no specific timeframe has been mandated for this session.
The rejection follows roughly two months after FedEx had announced reaching a tentative agreement with the labor union.
FedEx reassured stakeholders, saying, “The voting results of the tentative agreement will not disrupt our services as we continue delivering for our customers globally.” FedEx pledged to return to negotiations under the supervision of the National Mediation Board, expressing its commitment to bargain in good faith with the pilots to reach an agreement that caters to all FedEx stakeholders, despite their disappointment with the voting results.
The pilot union's leadership had, in June, given the green light to a new contract with FedEx, signaling progress in the negotiation process that spanned over two years.
The ratification ballot among union members, which is the subsequent step after the leadership vote, commenced on July 5 and concluded on Monday.
Norman, in his letter to union members on Monday, acknowledged the negotiating committee's efforts in constructing the tentative agreement, even though it did not succeed.
"The committee negotiated the most rewarding agreement ever clinched by a mainline carrier in the industry," said Norman. "Though it did not meet the membership’s expectations, the committee and staff remained steadfast in their mission to secure an industry-leading contract for the FedEx pilots."
The negotiation process between the pilots' union and FedEx management commenced in May 2021. The most recent contract signed by FedEx pilots was in 2015. The ALPA and FedEx management had been in mediation since November 2022.
A strike can only occur if negotiations collapse and the federal government authorizes it following the exhaustion of the procedures outlined in the Railway Labor Act, as per the ALPA. The National Mediation Board would initially need to exempt the two sides from mediation. Following a 30-day cooling-off period, both parties could resort to self-help, which could include a union strike or a management lockout.