The pilots were voicing their dissatisfaction with the pace of negotiations on a deal to improve pay, retirement benefits and quality-of-life issues.
The months passed, the seasons changed, but nothing came of that protest and now, with the holiday shopping season soon to begin, the pilots have picked a new location to make their voices heard: The New York Stock Exchange.
FedEx Express pilots, along with crew members and supporters, held "an informational picket" in front of the venerable location on Sept. 26, representatives said.
'Getting More Frustrated'
The pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, have been negotiating for a new contract since May 2021.
“FedEx pilots are getting more frustrated every day that goes by without an agreement, and with peak shipping season around the corner, it’s imperative that management fully commits to reaching a new pilot contract,” Capt. Chris Norman, chair of the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council, said in a statement.
“Our pilots have been delivering the world on time for years, now it is time for the company to recognize it," Norman said. "The future success of FedEx depends on an industry-leading pilot contract now."
"FedEx pilots gather ahead of today’s informational picket on Wall Street," the group tweeted. "#NowIsTheTime for FedEx to recognize the role we have played in its success and growth. NOW IS THE TIME for company leaders to recognize our collective contributions with an industry-leading contract."
FedEx issued a statement saying "the Collective Bargaining Agreement between FedEx and its pilots became amendable November 2021."
"The parties have been bargaining since May 2021 and have made significant progress towards a new agreement," the statement said. "These negotiations are a normal part of our business and have no impact on our service, as we continue delivering for our customers around the world."
'Addressing These Headwinds'
FedEx said it "will continue to negotiate in good faith with our pilots and are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to our pilots, our other team members, and all other stakeholders."
Earlier this month, FedEx issued a surprise profit warning, citing softness in package volumes that accelerated over the summer months.
The company pulled its full-year guidance and projected fiscal first quarter earnings well below Wall Street's consensus.
“Global volumes declined as macroeconomic trends significantly worsened later in the quarter, both internationally and in the U.S. We are swiftly addressing these headwinds," said CEO Raj Subramaniam, "but given the speed at which conditions shifted, first quarter results are below our expectations."
Several Wall Street analysts cut their price targets for the company, including Deutsche Bank analyst Amit Mehrotra, who slashed his price target on FedEx to $190 from $320, while keeping a Buy rating on the shares.
Mehrotra said in a research note that “we are disappointed that the company took little to no responsibility on the recent disappointing earnings and outlook, instead seemingly attributing the entire shortfall on macro weakness."
'A Delayed Response'
The analyst said he found it hard to believe the $500 million profit decline manifested itself in just one month. Rather, he thinks it's "indicative of a delayed response to risks that should have been anticipated."
FedEx pilots aren't the only ones dealing with contract issues.
The pilots are working under a contract that went into effect in 2016, union officials said.
“Delta has invested billions in stock buybacks, foreign carriers, and wholly owned subsidiaries as well as rewarded our fellow employees with pay raises,” Delta ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC) chair Capt. Jason Ambrosi said in a statement. “Management praises the pilots for our leadership. Meanwhile, we continue to work under pay rates, working conditions and benefits negotiated six years ago.”
Delta said that earlier this year, Delta, ALPA, and a representative from the National Mediation Board restarted mediated contract negotiations that had been paused for almost two years due to the covid-19 pandemic.
"Our goal remains to continue providing Delta pilots with an industry-leading overall contract with the best compensation based on pay, retirement, and profit sharing," the airline said. "We’re also committed to making sure the contract language supports our ability to run a world-class operation, maintain a strong balance sheet, and invest in our business for our customers and employees alike.”
Last month, a massive railroad strike was averted when President Joe Biden announced a tentative deal