FedEx And Pilots Not Talking

The Federal Express pilots' union says the company is refusing to negotiate, and that will probably lead to pilots refusing to work overtime during the busy upcoming holiday season.

Company officials said Monday they need time to regroup after union leaders decided Sunday to seek strike authorization from pilots.

"We have told them in light of the (union) board's decision to authorize this (strike) vote, we are evaluating our position and we will talk with them later this week," FedEx spokeswoman Shirlee Clark said.

Before deciding to seek authorization, the union's executive board sent ballots to its 3,200 pilots asking whether they would be willing to refuse to work overtime during the Christmas season. The results of that vote are to be announced Thursday.

"We feel that the company's latest actions will only serve to further impede the negotiating process and at a minimum result in implementing a no-overtime flying program." said Frank Fato, president of the Fedex Pilots Association.

Balloting on the strike authorization issue is expected to be completed by Nov. 20, setting up the possibility of a strike just before Christmas. Two-thirds of the pilots must approve authorization for union leaders to call a walkout.

Union officials say they are seeking a 24 percent pay increase over three years, while the company has offered 18 percent over five years. FedEx officials say the latest proposal also would improve schedules, raise retirement benefits, and prohibit the company from using non-FedEx airplanes and crews to deliver cargo.