FedEx/Southwest Contract Negotiations


New member
Mar 17, 2002
Total Time
For FedEx:
Is it true that during the last pilot contract negotiations Fred Smith threatened to fire all the pilots? If so, was he bluffing or would he really do it? What effect might this have on the upcoming 2004 contract?

For Southwest:
Prior to 9/11, for the first time ever, I heard Southwest pilots talking about the possibility of a strike in 2004 if their pay and benefits were not increased. Is there a real possibility of a strike in 2004?

I am interested in working for both companies and concerned about this issue.


Shem Malmquist
Nov 26, 2001
Total Time
Companies threaten all sorts of things during contract negotiations. I don't think very many people believe the threats. You have to look at contract negotiations sort of like buying a car and dealing with a car salesman. Ignore all the nonesense and just focus on a realistic final outcome.
Feb 27, 2002
Total Time
Fred Smith had Atlas Air/Polar Air/etc. pilots in HOTELS in Memphis, ready to go if there was a strike. He spent millions assuring that there wouldn't be a break in service. Claimed he'd do it "with trucks" if he had to. Took a page from the Reagan strike busting manual.

There was no doubt that he was going to try and break the pilots. They even had billboards near the employee parking lots claiming that the "Rich pilots" would cost them their jobs if they went on strike. Brutal...

Upcoming negotiations will be bloody but they all are. Fed Ex pilots should be the highest paid in the industry but Fred Smith doesn't think so. That sets the stage for a fire fight. Both sides have to give ground but that old Marine doesn't like to give an inch. Maybe with ALPA ammo it'll go a little smoother; the FPA would've had a real fight on it's hands.

But all of this is OBE because GWB has already said that he would not let anybody strike and impact the economy. So who knows...