United Airlines will become the first major airline in the United States to require employees to be vaccinated.
United Airlines mandating vaccines for employees
United Airlines has revealed that all employees in the United States will be required to be vaccinated by this fall. This will be required at the earlier point of five weeks after September 20, 2021, or five weeks after the FDA announces that it has fully approved a COVID-19 vaccine. In other words, by late October all United Airlines employees based in the United States will have to be vaccinated.
If employees choose not to get vaccinated, they’ll no longer have jobs at United Airlines. The only exception is that there will be “a very narrow reasonable accommodation process (as required by law) for religious and medical exemptions.”
The memo states the following, to address those who might be skeptical:
We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees. But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.
Over the last 16 months, Scott has sent dozens of condolences letters to the family members of United employees who have died from COVID-19. We’re determined to do everything we can to try to keep another United family from receiving that letter.
Will other airlines follow United’s lead?
United Airlines will become the first major airline in the United States to require employees to be vaccinated. Both Delta and United had announced earlier this year that they’d require newly hired employees to be vaccinated, but that’s the extent of it — they didn’t add any restrictions for existing employees.
In recent weeks, the CEOs of both American and Delta stated that they wouldn’t mandate vaccination for existing employees. I’m curious to see if they have a change of heart after this development from United.
United really is leading the way here — at the beginning of the year United CEO Scott Kirby hinted that he wanted to eventually require employees to be vaccinated. However, at the time he stated “I don’t think United will get away with and can realistically be the only company that requires vaccines and makes them mandatory, we need some others.”
So it seems that Kirby thinks we’re now at the point where United can “get away” with this.
United Airlines is leading the way among airlines in the United States by requiring employees to be vaccinated by this fall. If employees choose not to get vaccinated, they’ll either need to qualify for a medical or religious exemption, or they’ll no longer have a job at the company.
United is the first major airline in the United States to mandate something like this, and for that matter is even one of the first major travel companies. Kudos to Scott Kirby and the rest of the gang for leading the way here.