The carrier said it would initiate the process of sacking 593 employees from Tuesday
United Airlines said on Tuesday that nearly 600 US-based employees faced dismissals after the carrier failed to comply. Vaccination Policy.
In early August, the company became the first US carrier to require COVID-19 Vaccination for all domestic workers, proof of vaccination is required by Monday.
The carrier said on Tuesday it would begin the process of sacking 593 employees who chose not to get vaccinated.
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“It was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority,” Chief Executive Scott Kirby and Chairman Bret Hart told employees in a memo.
Company officials said employees can save their jobs by getting vaccinated before their formal termination meetings.
United has received requests for vaccination exemptions from employees for religious and medical reasons. Those employees make up less than 3% of the airline’s 67,000 US workforce, United officials said.
The company’s plan was to put religiously exempt employees on temporary, unpaid personal leave from October 2. However, those plans have been put on hold until October 15 due to a lawsuit challenging the policy.
Excluding those seeking exemptions, United said more than 99% of US-based employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
A company spokesperson said the airline plans to hire about 25,000 people over the next few years, and vaccinations will be a condition of employment for all new employees.
The spokesman said United will also require students at its pilot training school to be vaccinated.
The company rejected the notion that the vaccine requirement was deterring applicants for jobs in air carriers.
United received 700 applications for nearly 400 job postings at the Denver Career Fair last month. Similarly, over 20,000 applications have been received for about 2,000 open positions for flight attendants, the spokesperson said.