The Strategist

United Airlines to lay off almost 600 unvaccinated employees

09/30/2021 - 08:07

US airline United Airlines said in an internal letter that almost all of its 67,000 employees working in the US had been vaccinated against COVID-19. However, The Wall Street Journal reports that 593 employees have refused to be vaccinated and the company has initiated termination proceedings against them.

Alan Wilson
Alan Wilson
The airline made the requirement for all American employees to be vaccinated at the beginning of August. As UAL CEO Scott Kirby and its President Bret Hart explained in a letter to employees at the time, 'everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated'. 

The company had set a deadline of 27 September for full vaccination. By that time, 593 people had not been vaccinated, including 20 pilots and just under 100 flight attendants. In addition, about 2,000 employees have been medically exempted from vaccination or have been exempted for religious reasons. These employees will be placed on leave without pay as from 15 October. In the meantime, UAL is contesting in court the claims of several of these employees, who are unhappy about being sent on leave and call it discrimination.

UAL notes that those 593 employees who are about to be laid off can return to their jobs. To do so, they simply have to be vaccinated before they are invited for a formal interview and their contract is terminated. 

"We know that for some of you the decision to get vaccinated was not an easy one," the management said in a letter to UAL employees, "but we had no doubt that for some of you this vaccination would help avoid future hospitalisation and maybe even death".


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