Almost all United employees met the vaccine mandate.

“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.

Some employers worry that requiring their staff to receive a vaccination could lead to people quit their jobs during a very tight labor market. But the jobs at United, nearly all covered by union contracts, are apparently attractive enough for even vaccinating employees to get vaccinated.
Support for employers’ mandates has also been growing as Covid-19 Cases and Deaths increased this summer, mainly among unvaccinated people. A CNN poll conducted in August showed 54% supported the employer vaccine mandates, compared to just 46% in support in April.
United, like all airlines, cut staff in 2020 as air travel dropped dramatically. Airlines are now in the process of recruitment to cope with a spike in air travel. And United officials said some of the most qualified candidates volunteered to apply for United jobs because of the vaccine requirement and what it says about the airline’s commitment to employee safety.
United has one of the strictest immunization mandates for employers. the Federal employer mandate rules Announced by President Joe Biden earlier this month, which covered most companies with 100 or more employees, it gave workers a choice between vaccination or weekly Covid testing. But there is no trial alternative for United employees.

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.

So far the other major U.S. airlinesamerican airlines (AAL), Delta (FROM) and South west (LUV) – they do not have a mandate, although Delta has told employees that they will have to pay more for health insurance if they are not vaccinated.

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.

United CEO: Employer Mandate Best Way to Increase Vaccination Rates
United had planned to place employees who had medical reasons for not receiving the vaccine on medical leave, which could include partial pay, under the terms of their union contract. And he planned to place those whose religious exemption requests were accepted in Licence without any salary. Those who had applied for those waivers and whose applications were rejected would face dismissal.
Six United employees who had applied for be exempt from the mandate for medical or religious reasons, if not both, presented federal lawsuit last week challenging the mandate. In response, United put plans on hold until at least October 15 to put those with exemptions on leave and to fire those whose exemption application had been rejected.
While United strongly supports employers’ vaccination mandates, it does not support the idea of requiring passengers get vaccinated to fly.

“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.

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