Three airlines rejected implementing mandatory Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus vaccinations across their workforces.
Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines will not follow suit with competitor United Airlines’s vaccine mandate. At least one of the objecting companies claimed giving individuals the right to make their own informed medical decisions resulted in most of them taking the jab anyway.
Southwest confirmed the business will “continue to strongly encourage” employees to be vaccinated, and its stance on mandatory immunization is unchanged.
“Obviously, I am very concerned about the latest Delta variant, and the effect on the health and safety of our employees and our operation but nothing has changed,” CEO Gary Kelly said in a memo obtained by CNN.
Delta Air Lines revealed 75 percent of existing employees have already received their shots, even though it was a company policy requirement. The employer only requires all new workers to be vaccinated.
“[There are] additional steps and measures we can take to get the vaccine rates even higher but what we are seeing is every day those numbers continue to grow,” CEO Ed Bastian said according to Newsmax.
American Airlines offered an extra vacation day to any employee who takes the jab.
“We certainly encourage it everywhere we can … for our customers and our employees but we are not putting mandates in place,” CEO Doug Parker said according to the publication.
Different airline representatives met with President Joe Biden on Aug. 11. The gathering prompted United Airlines to warn its 67,000-strong workforce that it will fire anyone not still immunized against the deadly disease after Oct. 25.
“[The president] asked us to do everything we could with fellow CEOs, or anyone we were in contact with, to encourage others to do the same thing,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said according to the publication.
Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines informed employees it will consider imposing a vaccine mandate on roughly 20,000 employees, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.
Exceptions will be permitted for religious or medical reasons. However, this will only be necessary after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approves at least one of the currently available vaccines.
“As an employer with a duty to keep you safe and given the contagiousness and health risks of the COVID-19 virus and its variants, we are within our rights to make this decision and to ask you for information about your vaccine status,” the employer said in the memo.
None of the major airline CEOs believe any vaccination mandate will be imposed on passengers traveling within the United States.
“It is very difficult for us to come in and mandate a vaccine that is not even federally approved yet,” Bastian said according to CNBC. “We are continuing to encourage as much as we can amongst our own people and our customers to get vaccinated.”
There is still a chance international travelers might need to take the jab when national borders reopen.
“It is a government question but I suspect that it will not happen domestically,” Kirby said according to CNN.