Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FedEx History, how the Pilots got the Union in, and all the stuff Fedex management did on their end.

After almost two years of talks, the Management/FAB Committee, tasked with designing an “A/B Reserve” system, presents their plan. Management agrees to test the A/B Reserve System on the B-727 engineers for one bid period. At the conclusion of the test, management states the plan will “cost more than the present reserve system and therefore is too expensive to justify implementation.” It will be 10 more years before the A/B Reserve System is implemented as part of the FedEx pilots’ first collectively bargained agreement on May 31, 1999.
Three members of the FAB, Capts. Don Engebretsen, Al Smith, and John Poag, resign and start an independent union movement in hope of giving FedEx pilots some control over the upcoming seniority list arbitration between the FedEx/Tiger pilot groups. They take this action when it becomes evident that management is reneging on the commitment they made to protect the interests of the “Purple” pilots in the proposed seniority integration. Without knowledge of the FAB and contrary to their stated intentions, management has constructed a merger list that will result in minimal training costs to the Company. It is important to note that the seniority arbitration wasa tripartite arbitration, in which FedEx was an equal party to both the FedEx and Tiger pilot groups. This created a clear conflict of interest for FedEx management. They chose the least costly course of action. However, if the FedEx pilots had their own union, then seniority integration would be a contractual issue between the two unions.
The “No” group is formed and a “yellow sheet” with the printed names of FedEx pilots pledging loyalty to Fred Smith is stuffed into crew mailboxes. A concurrent anti-union campaign by management hits the crew room. Mr. Smith asks the “Purple” pilots to “give us a year” to address the pilot issues that have stirred interest in unionizing.

Desert Storm operation begins and crewmembers are activated to Reserve and NationalGuard units. FedEx is the only major carrier to terminate all benefits (medical, dental, insurance, etc.) for its activated personnel and their families. Benefits are reinstated only if participant pays monthly fees.

In October, the court-ordered re-run election is held. Ballot consists of ALPA and an independent union, United States Pilot Association (USPA); 1,015 pilots vote for ALPA, 271 vote for UPSA, 106 pilots vote “No,” and 887 pilots do not return ballots and therefore are counted as votes opposed to any collective bargaining representative (“NO” votes). A clear majority of pilots vote “for” collective bargaining. ALPA receives a majority of the pro-representation votes and, in accordance with NMB voting regulations, is declared the collective bargaining agent for the FedEx pilots, with 56.4 percent of the pilots voting FOR collective bargaining (1,286 out of 2,279 pilots).
Management appeals the election results. The NMB denies the appeal and validates the representational election results.

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1 comment:

Joe Nuno said...

1998: More than 800 pilots show up at a domicile meeting at the Botanic Garden in Memphis, as well as many pilots showing up in Subic and Anchorage to watch live video streaming of the event. Guest speaker Marty Levitt tells the story of coming to FedEx in the early 1970s and being told that FedEx will never be unionized. Levitt’s book Confessions of a Union Buster, and over 25 years of experience, are his résumé when he warns that FedEx will do whatever it takes to attempt to break the Union. He says that management’s main tool will be to divide and conquer and our main weapon to fight it should be UNITY.