United Airlines pilot Steve Lindland receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Registered Nurse Sandra Manella at United’s on-site clinic at O’Hare International Airport on March 9, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | fake images
The deadline for United airlines Employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 have passed, opening the door to dismissal on Tuesday in one of the strictest vaccination mandates in the country.
CEO Scott Kirby said during an interview at the Atlantic Festival on Monday that 98.5% of the company’s employees are vaccinated. That doesn’t include staff who are exempt from the mandate for religious or medical reasons, according to a spokeswoman.
United, which has 67,000 American employees, earlier this month said the staff it grants such exemptions to will be placed in temporary leave without pay. Unvaccinated employees without exemptions face termination, although that process could take weeks.
“If you have not received or reported at least one vaccine or have not been granted an accommodation extension, United will begin the separation process on September 28,” the company told employees on Wednesday.
Employees fired for not getting vaccinated would be fired for violating a company safety policy, which could make them ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Kirby said he was hopeful that the number of vaccinated staff would increase as the deadline for disclosing their status to the company approached Monday night.
The number of flight attendants who had not submitted their vaccination cards and had not received an exemption fell by roughly half from the weekend to Monday, according to the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents the roughly 23,000 members of the airline cabin crew.
Six United Airlines employees sued the airline in federal court in the Northern District of Texas, alleging that the company failed to provide “reasonable accommodations” for religious or medical reasons.
President Joe Biden earlier this month said his administration plans to force large companies to require vaccinations from employees or get them tested regularly for Covid. Airline executives say they are waiting for the details.
All major US carriers have encouraged staff to get vaccinated, but have diverged in their approaches, including an additional pay or time off as an incentive. Most have not required vaccinations.
Delta airlines plans to impose a $ 200 monthly surcharge on company health care costs for unvaccinated employees in November. Delta, along with Alaska Airlines and american airlines They have said that unvaccinated employees will have to use their own sick time if they miss work due to Covid. Hawaiian Airlines He said that staff must be vaccinated before November 1.
Even if an airline doesn’t require vaccinations, it could affect where some employees might fly. For example, American Airlines told pilots on Sept. 20 that the governments of Suriname and Canada will require airmen to be vaccinated to work on those trips, according to a staff memo. That also applies to flight attendants, according to their union.