United Airlines lets go of nearly 600 employees for not complying with vaccine mandate
United Airlines has followed through with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate – get the vaccine or get fired. The airline announced that it has let go nearly 600 employees who did not comply.
In a memo to employees, United officials said that it was a difficult decision that was made the keep employees and passengers safe.
“Everyone is safe when everyone is vaccinated – and vaccine requirements work,” the memo stated.
United says that 99% of employees are vaccinated. There were 593 employees, as of Wednesday, who chose not to get the shot, and were let go.
Some passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport say that they are happy with the mandate.
“I appreciate people getting vaccinated and I think it just makes us all safer,” says Bethany Weissman, who was flying for the first time in three years.
The Air Line Pilots Association tells News 12 that the union encourages members to get the vaccine, saying that the shots are the best protection against COVID-19.
But the union also says, “We have been preparing for this decision by the Company. The United pilots facing discipline from the company have the full backing of all ALPA resources." The organization has filed a grievance on behalf of 20 unvaccinated pilots.
A United spokesperson says they don't foresee any operational impacts when it comes to this issue.
A handful of United employees have asked for religious and medical exemptions from the vaccine. United threatened to place them on unpaid leave, but that was put on hold until at least Oct. 16.