(Adds FedEx Express statement, union comments)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - FedEx Express pilots and management on Wednesday said they have jointly filed for federal mediation with the National Mediation Board for assistance with contract negotiations that began in May 2021.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said the filing is necessary to seek expedited mediation under the Railway Labor Act. More than 100 off-duty FedEx pilots held an informational picket in New York last week.
Both sides said they have successfully resolved 8 of 12 contract sections but the union said "significant gaps remain in critical economic sections including retirement and pay rates."
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp, said the parties have "only a handful of unresolved issues in the remaining open sections."
FedEx Express added that mediation will have no impact on company operations or its ability to provide service.
"We are optimistic that involvement of a federal mediator will assist the parties in expediting the negotiation process and, ultimately, resolving the few remaining issues," said FedEx Express Senior Vice President for Air Operations Don Dillman.
He said that the company is hopeful mediation will help "reach an agreement that is fair and reasonable to pilots, other FedEx employees, our customers, and our stakeholders."
Capt. Chris Norman, chair of the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council, said, "Although we are disappointed with management’s proposals, we remain prepared to work with FedEx under the auspices of federal mediation to achieve a contract that recognizes the collective contributions of FedEx pilots."
He added, "With peak shipping season around the corner, it’s imperative that management fully commits to reaching a new pilot contract."
A number of airlines are currently in contract talks with pilots. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Mark Porter)