MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA) announced Wednesday that FedEx Express pilots have voted to authorize a strike, if necessary.
In a news release on May 17, 2023, ALPA said more than 97% of members took part in the vote, and 99% of the FedEx Pilots supported a strike if needed as they continue negotiations for a new contract with the Memphis-based global shipping giant.
The current contract was negotiated in 2015. Negotiations began in May 2021 ahead of the November 2021 time when the pilots’ contract became amendable. Talks went into mediation in October 2022.
“Today, FedEx pilots spoke with one unified voice and sent a clear message to management that we are willing to go the distance to secure a new contract,” said Capt. Chris Norman, chair of the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council. “Now is the time for FedEx to deliver a new contract that reflects the value we bring to FedEx as highly skilled professionals who deliver FedEx’s Purple Promise every day. Our goal is to reach an agreement, not to strike. 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 vote does not mean there will be a strike. Before that can happen, the National Mediation Board must give express permission after deciding that additional talks would be unproductive and offering arbitration to both parties. If both decline arbitration, ALPA said they go into a 30-day ‘cooling off’ period, which could then lead to a strike or a lockout by the company.
In a statement regarding the vote, FedEx said it has no impact on its current service for customers. The company said it is still in ‘productive negotiations’ with the pilots and will return to the bargaining table next week.
“FedEx remains focused on providing world class service to our customers. 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. At this time, we are still in productive negotiations with our pilots under the supervision of a government-appointed mediator and will return to the bargaining table next week.
ALPA’s 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.”