29 September (WNN) — United Airlines said on Wednesday it was beginning the process of sacking nearly 600 employees who refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine needed by the world’s third-largest carrier.
United said 99% of its employees Complied with the mandate, but noted that options had been exhausted with the remaining 593 who did not receive the shot.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision, but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority,” United CEO Scott Kirby and president Bret Hart said in a memo to employees, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Officials said getting most employees vaccinated has been a “historic achievement”.
“Our rationale for requiring a vaccine for all of United’s US-based employees was simple — to keep our people safe,” Kirby and Hart said.
United said less than 3% of its 67,000 US employees have sought religious or medical exemptions, and those who have received exemptions will be placed on temporary leave on October 2. Workers whose requests were denied have five weeks to vaccinate, or termination
In its original announcement in August, United was unclear how employees who refused a vaccine mandate would be punished.
United’s employees union, IAM District 141, says the carrier had previously said it would postpone its decision to put those on unpaid leave until October 15. The company is facing a lawsuit filed by six employees asking the airline to build accommodation. for them.
United, the world’s third-largest carrier by fleet size and routes, is one of several businesses and health systems in the United States that require vaccinations for their employees.
Earlier this week, New York officials said they would begin sacking healthcare workers who refused to comply with a similar mandate.