During the pandemic, thousands of employees volunteered to buy back shares, go into early retirement or take long-term vacations. And the airline had to hire new employees to replace those who left to meet demand, Jordan added.
“I’ve been with the airline for 33 years,” he said. “There have always been restrictions: can you get a plane, can you get airports, facilities, gates? This is the first time the staff is the constraint. “
The union also said Sunday that its members are prohibited by federal law from using the strike to resolve a labor dispute without first exhausting other options.
While the union, which says it is not opposed to vaccinations, denies that its members are causing disease in protest against the mandate, on Friday it asked a judge to ban airlines from accepting the vaccination mandate and other regulations. The request is part of a broader legal process that preceded the mandate and is based on the union’s assertion that Southwest took a series of “unilateral actions” in violation of labor laws.
Southwest is not alone in facing employee opposition to vaccination regulations. Last week, hundreds of American Airlines employees and their supporters protested against its new mandate outside the company’s Fort Worth headquarters, The Dallas Morning News reported.
But many others have spoken out in support of such claims. United Airlines, the first major US airline to impose a mandate, said nearly all of its 67,000 employees were vaccinated, with the exception of about 2,000 who applied for benefits for religious or medical reasons. United said it expects fewer than 250 employees to be laid off for non-compliance. The airline executives expected some reaction, but were surprised by the positive reaction, noting that there were many more applicants for open flight attendant jobs than there were before the pandemic.
“I didn’t appreciate the intensity of support for the current vaccination mandate because you hear this loud voice against the vaccine much more than you hear the people who want it,” United CEO Scott Kirby told the New York Times. this month. “But there are more of them. And they are just as strong. “
Delta Air Lines did not impose vaccination requirements, but said it would charge unvaccinated employees more than $ 200 a month for health insurance.