As citizens continue to protest against vaccine mandates, the nation’s four largest airlines are taking different approaches.
Earlier this month, Southwest pilots walked out on the airline after it threatened to terminate any employee who was not fully vaccinated for COVID by December 8. A number of photos circulated social media displaying Gadsden flags hanging from the cockpits of grounded Southwest planes.
The pilots’ stand, combined with the ground efforts of many protesters at the Southwest DFW headquarters, forced the company to change policy—at least partially. The new policy will create accommodations for employees who apply for a religious exemption rather than placing them on unpaid leave. However, if the exemption request is denied, the employee could still face termination.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly did claim the company would not be firing anyone for being unvaccinated.
“How we work through the people that don’t get vaccinated or don’t seek an accommodation, we’re going to have to figure out, and we’re working with the government on that,” said Kelly.
On two occasions earlier in October, American Airline employees led protests several hundred strong at the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth. The protests were in response to American Airlines’ November 24 vaccine deadline. At least one union representing American Airline flight attendants is calling for the company to make accommodations for employees who do not want the vaccine.
AA has yet to make any formal change to their policy.
In August, the airline announced that employees who refused to get the vaccine would be placed on unpaid leave pending termination. Several employees responded by filing a federal lawsuit, and U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman granted a temporary restraining order forcing United to make accommodations for employees refusing the vaccine until after opening arguments could be heard for the case. However, on October 26, that temporary restraining order will expire.
On the opposite end of the corporate tyranny spectrum is Delta Airlines, which happens to be the only major commercial airliner in the U.S. to not be implementing a vaccine mandate.
“By the time we’re done, we’ll be pretty close to [being] fully vaccinated as a company without going through all the divisiveness of a mandate,” said CEO Ed Bastin in a statement to Fox News. “We’re proving that you can work collaboratively with your people, trusting your people to make the right decisions, respecting their decisions and not forcing them over the loss of their jobs.”
Delta will, however, be increasing insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees by $200 a month.
With every airline seemingly taking a different approach to complying with Biden’s press release, the chaos is no closer to being resolved. Legal battles will continue to be sorted in the courts. Meanwhile, pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and ground crews continue to march in unison against corporate medical tyranny.
Jackie Schlegel with Texans for Vaccine Choice said this in response to the airlines’ mandates:
Texans for Vaccine Choice has always demanded that an individual’s right to make their own medical decisions be protected. It does not matter if it’s a large corporation like Southwest, American, or United, nor does it matter if it’s President Joe Biden pushing mandates. What matters is that medical decisions are personal choices and those choices are constitutionally protected. Hysteria does not spoil the constitution.