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FedEx Pilots Threaten To Strike As Holiday Season Approaches

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RALEIGH — The holidays are only a few weeks away, and there is more talk about a possibleFedExstrike. The pilots and the delivery company are negotiating, but the union has called for a vote on Monday to see if the pilots want to go on strike.

The Federal Express Pilots Association says its members earn an average of $125,000 a year. They say that ranks them ninth out of 14 major U.S. air carriers.

Therefore, they want a 24 percent pay raise spread over three years. FedEx is offering 17 percent. So, the pilots association has mailed strike ballots to its members.

People who want to get packages out and get them out fast do not really care about pilots' pay. But if the strike comes during the busy holiday mailing period, people like Rick Orsini atMail Boxes Etc.will have to do some diverting.

"Luckily we have a diverse range of shippers and carries likeUPS,DHL,Airborne Expressand thepostal service. We can divert it to them," Orsini said.

The post office says its Express Mail service will get a tremendous volume increase if the FedEx pilots strike.

For the holiday mailer, there is only one way to be sure.

"If you get it in here as soon as possible, we can ship it out," said Orsini. "Don't procrastinate. The sooner the better."

A spokesman from the FedEx headquarters in Memphis, TN, said the planes represent only two percent of their overall workforce. They say they have a contingency plan in effect if the pilots do strike. They say they could make up the difference with their 40,000 trucks.

There is a vote on Monday concerning a proposal on overtime which the pilots are very concerned about. The big vote comes Nov. 20.


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