Almost all United employees have complied with the vaccine mandate
“Our rationale for requiring a vaccine for all United employees residing in the United States was simple – to keep our employees safe,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a letter sent to United employees, which was also released to the media. “The reality is that everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated, and the requirements for the vaccine are working.”
Some of the 593 employees who have not yet complied with the requirements may still be retained if they have received the vaccine or started the vaccination process and did not send proof to the airline.
Major unions in the United have not fought the airline’s vaccine mandate. But the pilots’ unions representing pilots in America and the Southwest on Tuesday voiced opposition to federal rules they fear would require a vaccine for their members.
The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American pilots, wrote to 15 senior US government officials saying that “mandatory vaccinations could lead to labor shortages and create serious operational problems for American Airlines and its peers” at the height of the holiday travel season. “A scenario in which airlines are forced to either introduce unpaid leave or, worse, implement mass terminations for unvaccinated pilots,” he warned.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said the union believes that “every pilot has the right to choose” whether or not to get vaccinated.
But federal rules only require employers to mandate either a vaccine or weekly Covid tests, although an employer can choose to have a stricter policy as United has done.
American and Southwestern pilots’ unions have expressed dissatisfaction with working conditions in airlines in recent months over issues unrelated to vaccines. Both unions have announced plans to hold media sit-ins for airlines later this year, although in neither case they will cease operations.
“I don “t think so [mandating vaccination for] “Air travel alone is going to dramatically increase vaccination rates,” Kirby told CNN earlier this month. “I think this employer mandate is going to lead to a really big increase.” Friction in the subway, friction across the board.
– CNN’s Pete Montaigne and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report