United Airlines announced on Friday it will require all 67,000 US employees to take the Covid jab by October 25 or risk being terminated.
Shortly after United Airlines announced its vaccine mandate, Frontier Airlines announced its employees must be vaccinated by October 1 or get tested regularly for Covid.
“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.”
The Air Line Pilots Association believes the vaccine mandate is legal.
United Airlines will require its 67,000 U.S. employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 by no later than Oct. 25 or risk termination, a first for major U.S. carriers that will likely ramp up pressure on rivals.
United’s requirement is one of the strictest vaccine mandates from a U.S. company and one that includes employees who interact regularly with customers like flight attendants and gate agents.
United Airlines employees must upload proof that they received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose five weeks after federal officials give full approval to them or by Oct. 25, whichever is first, the executives said. Exceptions will be made for certain health issues or religious reasons, United said.
The mandate does not apply to regional airlines that fly shorter routes for United.
Many of United’s employees have already reported they have been vaccinated, including more than 90% of pilots and 80% of flight attendants, according to company officials. United didn’t disclose the company’s overall vaccination rate.
So far Southwest, American and Delta are only ‘strongly encouraging’ employees to get vaccinated and have not imposed any vaccine mandates…yet.