A FedEx member signs his name pledging his support for the FedEx MEC Negotiating Committee and committing to participate in informational picketing, if and when the MEC decides to conduct it.

FedEx Pilots Rally to Support Their Negotiating Committee 

On March 6, more than 500 FedEx pilots and family members turned out in Memphis, Tenn., for an afternoon rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of contract negotiations with management and to show their support for their Negotiating Committee. Declaring the anniversary a millstone rather than a milestone, the FedEx MEC leaders noted that as of the rally date, the two sides have reached tentative agreement on only 9 of 31 contract sections since the beginning of this bargaining round with management.

MEC Strategic Planning Committee co-chairman, Capt. Whitey Drossel, in his opening remarks to the rally participants, explained why no FedEx pilot should be satisfied with the slow pace that management is taking in negotiations. Management is very aware that "every day they delay is dollars out of your pocket in terms of both unrealized contract improvements and the very high costs associated with negotiations," Capt. Drossel said. "You should be very unhappy about any foot-dragging on their part."

Other rally speakers included Capt. Derek Martin, chairman of the MEC Family Awareness Committee, who outlined the process currently under way to build and maintain the communications network necessary to keep families informed and involved throughout the reminder of negotiations. As part of that process, the Committee will conduct training for its regional and area coordinators in mid-April.

In recapping the last year of talks with management, the pilots' Negotiating Committee chairman, Capt. Bob Chimenti, also expressed his disappointment with the slow progress of bargaining. He told the crowd that the Committee anticipates having all scheduling proposals out in the next few months and should have a good idea in May how negotiations will progress from that point forward. Capt. Chimenti urged pilots and their families to stay involved in the process. "This is your contract, and you are the ones that are really negotiating," he said. "You will win the contract you seek if you believe in what you're asking for and you are unyielding in your desire to get it."

Closing the rally, the MEC chairman, Capt. David Webb, laid out ALPA's plans for the next phase of the negotiations and how critical it is for members to remain engaged and involved. "You'll never know how valuable your support is during the negotiating process because bargaining is so incremental," he said. "You don't give yourselves enough credit for the contribution you make when, for example, you participate in a rally such as this. Showing your support like this actually enables us to continue."

ALPA and FedEx management continued negotiation during the week of March 7 and are scheduled to meet again the week of March 28.