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FedEx pilots reject 30% pay hike

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The proposed labor deal for FedEx pilots has been rejected, but this doesn't imply an imminent walkout like UPS is facing with its own labor dispute. The Air Line Pilots Association, representing FedEx pilots, voted against the contract with a 57% majority. The proposed agreement, agreed upon by union leaders in May, offered a 30% pay raise and an improved pension benefit of the same percentage. However, specific reasons for the rejection from the rank-and-file remain unclear.

Despite the rejection, the 5,200 FedEx pilots won't be able to strike immediately due to their unique labor law coverage. Unlike most private sector employees, they fall under the Railway Labor Act, which also encompasses airline employees. This act places significant obstacles in the path of unions aiming to strike. Thus far, the FedEx pilots haven't overcome these hurdles.

If union negotiations fail to progress and reach an impasse, the union can seek permission to strike through federal mediation. However, the Railway Labor Act permits the U.S. President to intervene at the last moment and impose a "cooling off period," lasting several months, during which workers are required to continue their duties while a presidential panel develops recommendations to resolve the deadlock.

Only if a deal isn't reached during this cooling off period could the union potentially go on strike, but Congress could intervene to prevent it. Similar to a past incident with freight railroads, Congress might impose a contract to ensure the continuation of operations.

FedEx expressed disappointment with the voting results on Monday but assured that the pilots would continue working as negotiations resume.

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