Southwest Airlines scrapped a plan to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave in December.
This only applies to those who have applied to those who applied for a religious or medical exemption.
The staff members will be allowed to stay on until their exemption is reviewed and either accepted or denied.
Southwest Airlines has scrapped a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have applied for but haven’t received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave starting by a federal deadline in December.
Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are among the carriers that are federal contractors and subject to a Biden administration requirement that their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 by Dec. 8 unless they are exempt for medical or religious reasons. Rules for federal contractors are stricter than those expected for large companies, which will allow for regular Covid testing as an alterative to a vaccination.
Executives at both carriers in recent days have tried to reassure employees about job security under the mandate, urging them to apply for exemptions if they can’t get vaccinated for medical or for a sincerely held religious belief. The airlines are expected to face more questions about the mandate when they report quarterly results Thursday morning. Pilots labor unions have sought to block the mandates or sought alternatives like regular testing.
Southwest’s senior vice president of operations and hospitality Steve Goldberg and Julie Weber, vice president and chief people officer wrote to staff on Friday that if employees’ requests for an exemption hasn’t been approved by Dec. 8, they could continue to work while following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed.
Southwest employees have protested the company’s mandate.
Southwest Airlines employees have gathered in a developing protest against the company’s vaccine mandate. The organizing of the employee protest was reported earlier by Becker News and can be watched live below via RSBN.
A number of the Southwest employees said that they already have the Covid vaccine, but they are protesting against the vaccine mandate.
“I am not anti-vax, I am just anti-mandate, that’s all,” one mother of four interviewed by RSBN said.
The employee protest was also covered by Real America’s Voice, which showed dozens line up all along Denton street holding signs and waving flags.
DALLAS TX: Southwest employees continue to gather in front of the South West headquarters to protest the airline vaccine mandate
— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) October 18, 2021
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