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Fedex: It Will Be There for Christmas

It is the busiest time of the year for Federal Express. Every day four million packages are shipped somewhere around the world, many of them on FedEx's 615 airplanes.

A threatened pilots strike next month could have put many a lump of coal into a Christams stocking.

Friday, the president and vice president of the Fedex Pilots Association and a representative from FedEx met and agreed to restart contract negotiations Monday, said spokesman Bob Clement.

What's more, Clement said the union's board of directors agreed to resume working overtime during the holidays and not to strike for 60 days.

The key issue is money: The pilots want raises of 24 percent over three years. Federal Express has countered with 17 percent over five years arguing their pilots are already well paid.

"The average pilot's salary in the FedEx system today is $142,000 a year. The range spans from $40,000 at the lower end up to $379,000 in the upper end, including overtime," says Bill Magaritis, Federal Express vice president.

For many companies, the holiday season is make or break.

Susan Bayley of Bayley's Lobster Pound, whose family has been selling lobsters for four generations, could lose half of her yearly shipping business in a December FedEx strike.

"We could probably ship at least five or ten thousand dollars worth of lobsters in a day. That's a significant amount of money for us, it's a small business," says Bayley.

If the pilots strike, the company has plans to keep some planes in the air with managers and outside contractors. Forty thousand Federal Express trucks will continue to roll.

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