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Fedex Gets Pilots’ ‘Last, Best’ Offer Union’s Slowdown Plans Delayed As Deadline Passes

The union representing about half of the pilots for FedEx submitted its “last and best offer” Friday night as a deadline passed for reaching an agreement on a contract.

The company was considering the last-minute offer by the Air Line Pilots Association early today. A federally ordered cooling-off period had expired at midnight.

No details of the plan were immediately available.

Meantime, the pilots delayed a planned slowdown meant to hurt the Memphis-based air carrier’s overnight delivery service, said Will Johnson, a communications specialist for union.

“We are in limbo now … but we anticipate a swift response,” he said.

The pilots have been negotiating for their first contract with the package hauler since the union won certification in 1993. The union has said there would be no strike.

Shirlee Clark, FedEx’s media relations manager, said contingency plans were in place in case of a slowdown. She did not elaborate.

Some 250,000-300,000 packages per day could be affected if the pilots simply refuse to work overtime during the busy holiday season, Johnson said.

“If a plane is not where it’s supposed to be, the package can’t just get off the airplane and move to another airline,” he said.

ALPA represents about half the company’s 2,950 pilots, who earn, on average, $128,000 a year. But Clark said she believed fewer than 750 would support any type of action.

“We plan to continue operations as usual,” she said. “We think there will be no impact on the customer at this point.”

The pilots, the only domestic Federal Express employees represented by a union, have been seeking a contract since May 1994.

Contract talks stalled in October, and a 30-day cooling-off period was ordered by the National Labor Relations Board.

The two sides resumed talks Monday.

FedEx says the pilots’ demands for pay raises, changes in work rules and other details would cost the company $300 million over the three years.


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