United Airlines Is Set To Fire 593 Employees Who Have Refused to Get Vaccinated

Aero Icarus

Americans still have a choice about whether or not to get vaccinated for Covid-19, but sometimes choosing not to get vaccinated can result in losing your job. Some health care workers have found themselves without a job because they chose not to get vaccinated. Some restaurant employees have also faced vaccine mandates. Now, airline employees are joining that list.

United Airlines has mandated that all employees need to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19. If employees failed to either get vaccinated or claim a religious or medical exemption by September 28, 2021, they would lose their jobs.

The company reports that approximately 99% of their employees are currently fully vaccinated; however, there are 593 employees who are not vaccinated and who have not claimed an exemption. These employees will be fired from their jobs.

United CEO Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart sent a memo to employees explaining the reasoning behind the company’s vaccine mandate. The memo explained, “Our rationale for requiring the vaccine for all United’s U.S.-based employees was simple — to keep our people safe — and the truth is this: Everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated, and vaccine requirements work.” 

Of the company’s employees, less than 3% claimed a religious or medical exemption. Among the ones who did claim an exemption were approximately 330 pilots. Any employee who was granted an exemption will be placed on temporary leave started October 2, 2021. People who were granted a religious exemption will be on unpaid leave while those who were granted a medical exemption will be on medical leave which sometimes includes compensation.

United does not expect the number of employees on leave and those fired due to not getting vaccinated to negatively impact the day to day operations of the company. In fact, some potential new employees are especially interested in working for United because of the vaccine mandate, and the resumes are rolling in by the thousands. For example, the company received approximately 20,000 applications for 2,000 open flight attendant positions.

Currently, United is the only airline to have a vaccine mandate, but Delta is considering making some changes. Although Delta does not plan to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine at this time, the airline is planning to charge unvaccinated employees an additional $200 each month for the company’s health plan.

Is there a vaccine mandate where you work? Would you be more likely or less likely to want to work for a company with a vaccine mandate? Would you feel safer flying on United knowing all employees have been vaccinated?