On Tuesday, United Airlines said that nearly 600 of its employees could lose their jobs. There were 593 employees who had not taken vaccines against COVID-19. The company has one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the nation. About 67,000 people work at United.
According to CNBC, late Monday was the deadline for employees at United to upload proof that they had been vaccinated with at least one dose of a two dose vaccine, or one dose of a single dose vaccine. The company said that over 96 percent of its workers in the U.S. were in compliance with the mandate.
About 2,000 employees have asked for exemptions on religious or medical grounds. The company has put employees who are granted these exemptions on temporary medical leave. However, employees without exemptions can be fired from their jobs, although it would not be immediate and could take weeks.
United’s CEO, Scott Kirby and President, Brett Hart sent employees a note on Tuesday which said that termination was an “incredibly difficult decision” but keeping the Airlines’ team safe was their first priority.
When asked by CNBC about workers who had not uploaded a proof of vaccine, a spokesman declined to give details but indicated that the group was diverse and included pilots, flight attendants and mechanics.
The spokesman also told the outlet that they would not face operational problems due to terminations. They also said that they were will to work with staff if they could get them to change their mind and get vaccinated.
The grounds of termination according to the company was violations of a company safety policy. This would make the fired staff ineligible for unemployment benefits.
The President of District 141 has said that the Union will file for wrongful termination grievances if unvaccinated workers are fired.
Other airlines have also mandated vaccines or increased employees insurance costs to encourage their workforce to get vaccinated. Some airlines have also enforced weekly testing or no sick time for the unvaccinated. Some countries do not allow unvaccinated airlines employees to enter their country which could also be considered as a vaccine mandate
Source CNBC Airlines