Earlier this week, Memphis-based global freight transportation services provider FedEx and pilots at the company’s FedEx Express subsidiary represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) came to terms on a tentative agreement.
Details regarding the terms of the agreement were not made publicly available by the parties.
FedEx officials declined to comment on the agreement, outside of a brief statement issued by the company on May 30, which stated: “We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with our pilots as we continue delivering outstanding service to our customers around the world.”
ALPA officials said that ALPA and FedEx management had been in mediation with the National Mediation Board going back to November 2022 (the contract became amendable in November 2021), with negotiations for a new deal having begun in May 2021. And they added that the FedEx pilots are currently working under contractual provisions and benefits that were negotiated in 2015.
On May 17, FedEx pilots, represented by ALPA, voted to authorize a strike, if needed, in order to come to terms on a new contract.
At the time, Capt. Chris Norman, chair of the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council, explained that FedEx needs to deliver a new contract that reflects the value the ALPA pilots bring to FedEx as highly skilled professionals delivering FedEx’s “Purple Promise” on a daily basis.
“Our goal is to reach an agreement, not to strike,” said Norman. “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.”
In a collective bargaining update issued by FedEx on the same day, the company said that FedEx remains focused on providing world class service to its customers, adding that while strike authorization votes are a common tactic for labor organizations during Railway Labor Act negotiations, strikes are only possible with the express permission of the National Mediation Board.
“They can only occur after the parties have passed through multiple legally mandated steps, and only when other safeguards, such as Presidential or Congressional intervention, do not occur,” it said. “ALPA’s [May 17 strike authorization] announcement is consistent with the recently announced authorization votes from other represented carriers who continue to bargain without any interruption to their operations. FedEx is focused on reaching a comprehensive agreement and remains committed to bargaining in good faith with our pilots to achieve an agreement that is fair to them, our other team members, and all other FedEx stakeholders. The results of ALPA’s strike authorization has no impact on our service as we continue delivering for our customers around the world.”
Jerry Hempstead, president of Orlando-based Hempstead Consulting, said that as many airlines have renegotiated their pilots’ contracts of late, other pilots always want what the other ones are getting and more.
“Pilots as a group are the highest paid employees on the planet and therefore puts stress on the P&L when they demand and get more concessions on work rules and compensation,” he told LM. “The pilots also see the FedEx stock is up over $100 a share in the last year and they want to enjoy some of that, so it’s hard for management to plead poverty.”