FedEx pilots take a break from the skies to stand their ground

The union members are considering a strike if negotiations aren’t resolved soon
FedEx pilots take a break from the skies to stand their ground
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 7:06 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - FedEx pilots lined the sidewalk of the departures level at Ted Stevens International Airport Wednesday morning, standing in solidarity to express their growing frustration with ongoing contract negotiations.

The Air Line Pilots Association, International union members are currently in a voting period on whether or not to strike if negotiations aren’t resolved soon.

One of the 80 pilots on the picket line was chair for the FDX Master Executive Council, Captain Chris Norman. He said the union has been bargaining with FedEx for nearly two years.

“We are trying to get our point across to our company that they need to finish the bargaining,” Norman said. “It’s time to finish this process and let us continue to be the pilot group that we’ve always been, and that is well-respected amongst the industry.”

The voting period for members to decide whether or not to strike ends May 17.

Wednesday’s picket line comes on the heels of FedEx’s recent announcement that it would be closing the Anchorage MD-11 pilot crew base.

Bill Popp, CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, said the demobilization of the MD-11s would likely not have a significant impact on the economy in terms of overall operations.

“When we look at the airport, it generates one out of seven jobs in Anchorage and FedEx is an important part of that system. It’s one of many players whose service air cargo needs through Anchorage International Airport, and losing even a couple of pilots is something we don’t want to see,” Popp said.

In regards to a potential strike of a major air cargo carrier, Popp said it’s hard to gauge how much of an effect it would have on Anchorage’s market.

“Would it be a significant impact? Probably not,” Popp said. “Would it be a noticeable impact? Yes.”

In a written statement emailed Wednesday afternoon, manager for FedEx’s Global Network Communications said that negotiations are continuing under the supervision of the National Mediation Board.

“We are confident we can reach a comprehensive agreement while continuing to deliver outstanding service to our customers,” the statement read. “Informational picketing is a common occurrence during negotiations and does not impact our service.”