For a company obsessed with paying the least amount possible to it's workers, our pilots have me somewhat confused. According to what I have heard, they have the best pay and benefits package in the industry, which is a closely-guarded secret kept from us lowly hourlies, lest we become upset. Why pay them top money, and compensate us with very little in comparison to the rest of our industry? Essentially, our low wages and poor benefits subsidize our very special pilots, who actually DO have a retirement plan (a real one), much better benefits, and extremely high pay. I have a friend who is a First Officer for SWA, and he makes right around 80k per year, with decent benefits, and only a 401k for retirement. He actually works pretty hard in comparison to a FedEx pilot because he flies multiple short trips with many take-offs and landings instead of one round trip to OAK or a one-way trip to or from MEM. No limos to and from the airport, and no signing bonuses for accepting Fred's union contract offer each time it comes around. Yes, I did say union. On the other hand, we have our feeder pilots, who are actually contracted to FedEx and make very little money in comparison to their big jet brethren. So, here's the question: How can impoverished FedEx Express and equally penniless Mr. Smith afford such a lavishly-compensated line pilot workforce? After all, we are trying to cuts costs, right? Please remember that these are the same pilots who look down their noses at us as low-class box tossers, and could care less if we eat crumbs off the floor from Fred. They have theirs, and that's all that matters.