United Airlines to Require Employee Vaccination

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United is the first major airline to make this move.

Many companies and businesses around the United States have gradually started to become more stringent on the subject of COVID-19 vaccination in regards to their employees. Some are offering incentives like paid time off or bonuses, while others are enacting restrictive requirements such as more frequent COVID screening tests on those who don’t get vaccinated. Most major airlines have taken similar steps, but as of today, one of them has officially taken off the kid gloves. If you work for United Airlines and want to keep working for them, you have to get vaccinated, no exceptions.

United announced that all 67,000 of its employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 25, or they could face termination. United is the first major airline to impose such a strict vaccine mandate, as well as one of the few major businesses in general to do so.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said Friday in an employee note. “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.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly disastrous for the airline business in general, it stands to reason that the airlines themselves would have the most to gain from COVID-compliant safety measures.

“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,” the executives said. “We’re determined to do everything we can to try to keep another United family from receiving that letter.”

Following United’s announcement, the Association of Flight Attendants chimed in with an agreement on the importance of vaccination. “COVID-19 is a threat,” the union told members. “There are proven strategies to mitigate that threat. Vaccination is necessary to end the pandemic and the health and economic harm it has caused.”

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