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.

Some employers are concerned that requiring their employees to have a vaccine could lead to People to leave their jobs During The job market is very tight. But jobs at United, which are covered by nearly all union contracts, look attractive enough even for employees reluctant to receive vaccinations.
Support employer mandates He was growing too Covid-19 cases and deaths It rose this summer, mainly among unvaccinated people. A CNN poll conducted in August showed 54% in favor of an employer vaccine states, up from just 46% support in April.
United, like all airlines, cut its staff in 2020 as air travel drops sharply. Airlines are now all in the process Staff recruitment To deal with the rebound of air travel. United officials said some eligible candidates had volunteered that they were applying for jobs at United because of the vaccine requirements and what it says about the airline’s commitment to employee safety.
United has one of the strictest states for an employer vaccination. The Federal Employer Authorization Rules President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that most companies with 100 or more employees will give workers a choice between vaccination or a weekly Covid test. But there is no substitute for testing for United’s staff.

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.

Until now Other major US airlinesAmerican Airlines (AAL)And Delta (from) And Southwest (love) – You don’t have a mandate, even though Delta has told employees it will have to Pay more for health insurance If they are not vaccinated.

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.

United planned to place employees who had medical reasons for not getting the vaccine on medical leave, which could include partial pay, depending on the terms of their union contract. It planned to place those whose requests were accepted for religious exceptions unpaid leave. Those who applied for these exemptions and the applications were rejected will face dismissal.
Six United employees have applied Be exempt from authorization for medical or religious reasons, if not both, in advance Federal lawsuit Last week’s state challenge. In response, United suspended plans until at least October 15 to put those with exemptions on leave and to reject those whose request for exemption was rejected.
While United is a strong supporter of employer vaccine mandates, it does not support the idea of Passengers require To be vaccinated for flight.

“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

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