Unvaccinated employees cannot work for American Airlines due to the federal mandate
American Airlines executives told employees on Friday that due to the White House mandate for state contractors, they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to remain employed.
In a letter to employees, the company said that due to its agreements with the US government, the company must comply with the White House vaccine mandate for all federal contractors and that “all US-based American team members and certain international crew members” members [must] vaccinated without providing a regular test alternative.
“While we are working on the details of the state requirements, it is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated cannot work for American Airlines,” said the letter from CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom.
According to United Airlines, more than 99% of employees were vaccinated
The letter came just hours after discussions between White House officials and airlines who have not yet committed to vaccinating employees. according to a report from Reuters. A spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines confirmed the call to the White House on Friday.
American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta Air Lines have opposed a company-wide mandate for vaccines and instead opted for monetary and vacation incentives to encourage employees to get vaccinated.
But on Friday, both JetBlue and Alaska Airlines made similar statements to employees. Earlier this week, Chicago-based United said it would lay off around 250 employees after the deadline for submitting vaccine verification. Around 99% of employees had either provided evidence or applied for a religious or personal exception.
In the memo, American Airlines said that employees could apply for an exemption because of “a disability or righteous religious belief”.
“We have been committed to ensuring that all American Airlines team members – and all eligible people around the world – should get vaccinated, and we appreciate the tens of thousands of team members who have done so during our incentive program,” it said in the American Airlines memo. “For those colleagues who have not, we understand that this federal mandate can be difficult, but it is our company’s requirement and we will meet it.”
The White House issued a mandate in early September that all federal entrepreneurs must vaccinate all employees or apply for an exception. The Biden government also said companies with more than 100 employees could be fined $ 14,500 by the occupational health and safety department for each case of an unvaccinated employee.
However, many companies are waiting for further instructions from the government or possibly to see if a legal challenge would overturn the mandate.
When the rule was announced, both American and Southwest said they would obey all federal rules.
American Airlines has contracts with the federal government, including Department of Defense freight contracts, participation in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet Program, and the City Pair Program, which gives federal employees discounted airfare between certain markets.
In a memo to employees earlier this week, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the company is “waiting to learn more about President Biden’s COVID Action Plan,” although he said he didn’t believe it was up to him as CEO lie to prescribe vaccines.
“While I don’t believe I have the right to vaccinate people, the government has legal authority to order vaccinations,” wrote Kelly. “Individual freedoms do not trump the common good, and that precedent was set more than a century ago.
“We at Southwest Airlines may be required by federal law to require employees to be vaccinated, and we will be prepared for that,” said Kelly.