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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Cruise calls United Airlines’ implementation of vaccination mandate “deeply troubling”

Senator Ted Cruz, Texas, at a meeting of the US Senate Committee on Trade, Science and Transportation on December 15, questioned the United Airlines boss about his decision to enforce COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all United States employees.

Cruise praised two Texas-based carriers, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, calling them “exemplary” in terms of vaccination requirements and not firing employees who refused to get vaccinated.

The senator then turned his attention to Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines.

“I have to say that United’s behavior on this issue is deeply troubling,” Cruz Kirby said. “Your competitors said they would support their employees, United hasn’t made the same commitment.”

“We have committed over $ 54 billion to keep the US aviation industry strong and healthy,” the senator said.

“I have talked a lot with each of you about the critical importance of maintaining our pilots and flight attendants.

“Fast forward to where we are today, and we ended up in different circumstances, and the behavior of the airlines was not uniform.”

The committee listened to airline executives at a comprehensive hearing on the oversight of the US aviation industry.

This was in response to industry “disruptions” caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the virus that causes COVID-19.

To keep airlines “viable,” Congress signed into law the Payroll Support Program (PSP) on March 27, 2020.

He has provided assistance to consumers and businesses, including assistance to air carriers and eligible contractors.

A Senate committee examined the impact of the program on commercial airlines and their employees, and the impact of airline operations on “American consumers.”

Executives from four major airlines attended: United, Delta, Southwest and American.

When asked by Senator Cruise how many pilots were fired for failing to meet United’s vaccine requirements, Kirby replied that “200 employees did not meet United’s requirements and 67,000 employees were laid off.”

Kirby added that roughly six pilots have been laid off and 80 are on unpaid leave of the roughly 13,000.

However, Cruz pleaded differently.

“Well, to tell you, this morning I spoke to the employees of the airlines for freedom of health care who said that they had more than 2,000 United employees on unpaid leave because they were seeking exemption from vaccination requirements. Including 331 pilots ”.

Kirby continued to defend United’s vaccination mandate.

“We think it saves lives,” Kirby told the committee. “I think this is my # 1 responsibility … safety, especially when running an airline.”

Cruz said during the hearing that he had been “inundated” with United employees who complained to him about the company’s “callous disregard for pilot rights.”

The senator referred to a video Kirby he saw on Instagram, which he called “very disturbing.”

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby speaking at a press conference in Washington on September 22, 2020 (Chip Somodeville / Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photos
Senator Ted Cruz, Texas, speaks at the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Connie Barrett before the Senate Judicial Committee on October 14, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Greg Nash-Poole / Getty Images)

United CEO Scott Kirby told his staff that ‘very few people’ who have requested a religious exemption for their vaccination mandate would be granted such an exemption, said his staff would ‘put their jobs at stake,’ and said that employees must “be very careful.” about it, – said Cruz.

Adrianna Uballe, a 10-year-old United flight attendant, told Cruz in a letter that she was fired by the airline for not receiving the vaccine “on time.”

This letter was later presented in evidence by Cruise and accepted by the chairman of the committee, Senator Maria Cantwell (Washington State).

Uballe told The Epoch Times that she had “complications” with the vaccine and had to be hospitalized.

“At first I was firmly against vaccination,” she said of her experience. “This vaccine was forced on us, I wanted to stay true to myself because of my religion, but I was cornered.”

The single mother of her 6-year-old son said she started to panic because she didn’t want to lose her job but wanted to stick to her beliefs, she continued.

Uballe said she asked her union representative for help.

“A spokesman for my union told me that exemptions from religious beliefs are no longer accepted and they are preparing to be fired if I don’t get the vaccine,” she said.

“She told me to think about my son, my benefits, and then I broke down with the choice.”

Uballe said her union member told her, “Come on, do it right now, just J&J, I’ll get the dogs off your back.”

At that point, Uballe said that she had lost “all respect” for United Airlines, her union, and even herself for “concession” to her employer’s demands.

After receiving the injection she was recommended, Uballe developed a severe reaction to the vaccine and was hospitalized.

She said her union representative told her that she would “keep her job.”

During a video conference call with a human resources employee, Uballe said he asked why she did not receive the vaccine on time.

After explaining that she had been denied a tax exemption and that her union representative “persuaded her to get the vaccine,” she was presented with an eight-page document that Uballe called “an agreement not to sue”.

“I was told that the document is time sensitive and that I need to log in now,” she said. “I wanted to read this and understand what I was signing.”

Without signing the document, Uballe said that when she returned home, she found a termination letter hanging on the gate in a transparent plastic garbage bag.

“I felt like trash after reading this,” she said. “I was a very good employee. I did it wrong. “

The Epoch Times contacted United Airlines and union representatives who did not return their phone calls on time.

Yannis Falkenstern

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Yannis Falkenstern is an Epoch Times reporter covering Florida.

World Nation News Desk
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