“Our rationale for requiring the vaccine for all United States employees was simple: keeping our people safe,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a letter sent to United employees, which was also posted. made known to the media. “The truth is this: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated and the vaccine requirements work.”
Some of the 593 employees who have not yet met the requirement could continue to be part of the staff if they have received the vaccine or have started the vaccination process and have not submitted the proof to the airline.
United’s top unions have not opposed the airline’s vaccine mandate. But on Tuesday, the pilot unions representing pilots at American and Southwest voiced objections to federal rules that they fear may require vaccinations for their members.
The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American pilots, wrote to 15 top US government officials saying that “mandatory vaccinations could result in a manpower shortage and create serious operational problems for American Airlines and its peers.” at the height of the holiday travel season. He warned of “a scenario in which airlines are forced to offer unpaid licenses or, worse still, to implement mass layoffs of unvaccinated pilots.”
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said the union believes it is “the right of every pilot to choose” whether to get vaccinated.
But federal rules only require employers to require a weekly Covid vaccine or testing, although an employer may choose to have a stricter policy as United has done.
Both the American and Southwestern pilot unions have expressed dissatisfaction with working conditions at airlines in recent months over issues that have nothing to do with vaccines. Both unions have announced plans to hold airline information pickets later this year, although in neither case would they stage a work stoppage.
“I do not think so [mandating vaccination for] air travel alone will drive a huge increase in vaccination rates, “Kirby told CNN earlier this month.” I think this mandate from the employer will generate a really big increase. “He said he was concerned that the passenger mandates could” create friction at airports. friction in the subway, friction across the board. “
– CNN’s Pete Muntean and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.