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FedEx Pilots Picket

Walking in Memphis

Founded in 1931 and representing over seventy-thousand pilots in the employs of forty U.S. and Canadian airlines, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the world’s largest and most influential pilot union.

On 24 May 2023, ALPA announced that hundreds of FedEx Express pilots, in a strong show of support for the air-carrier’s ALPA negotiating team—had participated in an informational picket on the grounds of the FedEx Express Air Operations Center. The picket was undertaken for purpose of protesting fantastically protracted, abjectly unproductive contract negotiations—negotiations convened in May 2021 and relegated to mediation in October 2022.

In point of fact, FedEx pilots are currently working under contractual provisions and benefits negotiated in 2015.

On 17 May 2023, FedEx Express pilots voted overwhelmingly in support of a strike—were such an action forced by FedEx management and deemed necessary by union leaders.

All but one-percent of the 97-percent of FedEx Express pilots who participated in the vote authorized union leaders to call a strike.

FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council chair Captain Chris Norman stated: “Last week, voting closed on a historic strike authorization ballot, with our pilots overwhelmingly in support of a strike if necessary. Once again, our pilots are holding the line and demonstrating their continued frustration with management’s lack of urgency to close this deal and invest in our pilots.”

Captain Norman added: “While other airline managements continue to reach agreements with their pilots, FedEx fails to recognize our pilots and their contribution to the corporation’s success. Our goal is to achieve an industry-leading contract, but we will continue preparing our pilots for scenarios as permitted under the Railway Labor Act. If management doesn’t get serious, we are prepared to go the distance to get the contract we deserve.” 

Prior to a strike taking place, the U.S. National Mediation Board must—by law—determine additional mediatory efforts would prove unproductive  and offer the dispute’s parties opportunity to seek arbitration. In the event either side declines arbitration, the dispute enters a thirty-day “cooling off” period, after which the parties may engage in self-help—which is to say a strike may be called by the union or a lockout initiated by management. In either instance, FedEx loses.



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