United Airlines employees have been given until Tuesday to become Covid-19-vaccinated. This means that they could be terminated as soon as Tuesday under one of the strictest inoculation mandates in the country.
Scott Kirby, CEO of the company, stated that 98.5% are currently vaccinated during a Monday interview at Atlantic Festival. According to a spokesperson, this does not include employees who are exempted from the mandate for religious or medical reasons.
United, with 67,000 U.S. workers, announced earlier this month that it will place temporary unpaid leave on staff to which it gives such exemptions. Employees who are not vaccinated and do not qualify for exemptions could be fired, although this process can take several weeks.
The company informed employees Wednesday that United would begin the separation process as soon as September 28 if they haven't received or reported at least one shot and if you haven't been granted an extension for accommodation.
Employers who are fired for failing to get vaccinated will be fired on the grounds that they have violated a company safety policy. This could render them ineligible for unemployment benefit.
Kirby stated that he was optimistic that the number of vaccinated employees would increase as the deadline for reporting their status to the company drew near on Monday night.
According to the Association of Flight Attendants (which represents approximately 23,000 cabin crew members), the number of flight attendants who didn't send in their vaccination cards or hadn't received an exemption dropped by half between the weekend and Monday.
Six United Airlines employees sued United Airlines in federal court in Texas' Northern District of Texas. They claimed that the company did not provide reasonable accommodations for their religious or medical needs.
Since the spike in Covid cases this summer, U.S. companies have issued more mandates for vaccines to some or all employees.
This month, President Joe Biden stated that his administration will require large companies to provide vaccines for employees. Executives at airlines say they are still waiting for the details.
Although all major U.S. carriers encourage staff to get vaccinated, some have differed in how they approach it. Some have offered extra pay or reduced time as incentives. Many have not required vaccinations.
Delta Air Lines will impose a $200 per month surcharge on employees who are not vaccinated to cover company healthcare costs. Delta, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines all announced that unvaccinated employees would have to use their sick time if they are unable to work due the Covid. Hawaiian Airlines stated that staff must be immunized by November 1.
Even if the airline does not require vaccinations, it can affect where employees are allowed to fly. According to a memo from staff, American Airlines informed pilots that Canada and Suriname will require them to get vaccinated in order to fly those flights. According to their union, the same applies to flight attendants.