United Airlines will lay off more than 200 employees for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the company’s CEO said in a report on Wednesday.
The company – which announced a vaccine mandate for workers in August – said 232 of its 67,000 U.S. employees missed the deadline and are in the process of being canned, CEO Scott Kirby said. CBS News.
“I would have liked it to be 100 percent, but out of our 67,000 US employees, there are 232 who haven’t been vaccinated and they’re going through the termination process,” Kirby said. about the Chicago-based airline.
United was one of the first major U.S. companies to announce a vaccination mandate, giving employees a deadline of late September to get stung.
After tenure, Kirby said he responded to the reluctance of workers who disagreed with the policy with an “empathic” approach as opposed to an argumentative approach while retaining his ground.
“I tried not to argue with them about it,” he told CBS. “We’re not going to win arguments about this with people. And I respect that you have a different opinion, but now you have a decision to make as to whether you want to get the shot and stay at United or not. “
Kirby made the groundbreaking political decision after a United pilot died from the virus in July, he told CBS.
“The second time I was notified of an employee – it was a 57 year old pilot who had passed away – I walked around for half an hour and finally called our team and said: “Enough is enough,” “he said at the exit. “We can do something about it, we believe in safety.”
“And weeks later, we had 99.7% of our employees vaccinated,” he said.
Kirby is not concerned about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order this week banning private companies in the state from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for workers – because nearly all United employees have already received the vaccines, did he declare.
“Because it’s in the rearview mirror for us, we don’t have to be so focused on what it really means in the short term because we’ve already had everyone vaccinated,” he said. “My responsibility is to try to do the right thing for United Airlines and what I think is for sure.”
After United announced the vaccine’s mandate in August, some rival companies such as Hawaiian Airlines and Frontier Airlines followed suit.
President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors subsequently forced refractories such as Southwest Airlines and American Airlines to adopt the policy as well.
At least 2,000 United employees have also been exempted from the vaccination warrant for religious or medical reasons, company executives said on September 29. It was not clear on Wednesday whether that number had increased or decreased.