United Airlines workers with vaccine exemptions can return to work

United Airlines, which was one of the first major companies to mandate the coronavirus vaccination, will allow workers who have obtained...


United Airlines, which was one of the first major companies to mandate the coronavirus vaccination, will allow workers who have obtained religious or medical exemptions to receive an injection to return to work at the end of this month.

About 2,200 United employees received exemptions last year. They were placed on unpaid leave or transferred to positions that did not involve face-to-face contact with customers. These employees will be able to return to their usual position on March 28.

“We expect the number of Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths to continue to decline nationwide over the coming weeks and as a result we plan to welcome back these employees,” a said Kirk Limacher, United’s vice president of human resources, in a memo to employees. Thursday.

The airline’s plans were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

United announced its vaccine mandate early August, one of the first major companies to do so. By October, almost all of the airline’s 67,000 employees had been vaccinated in one of the largest and most successful corporate vaccination efforts at the time. About 200 employees were subsequently fired for not following the policy, and all new hires must be vaccinated.

Since the start of the pandemic, Scott Kirby, the airline’s chief executive, had been writing letters to the families of employees who died from the virus, a practice he once described as “the worst thing I think I will ever do. ever in my career.” As the Delta variant began to spread over the summer, he decided to do something about it.

“We concluded that enough is enough,” he said in an interview with The New York Times last year. “People are dying, and we can do something to stop that.”

In January, Mr Kirby said the vaccine mandate had saved the lives of around eight to 10 United employees since late September. In his memo on Thursday, Limacher said the vaccinated employees were “remarkably safe” compared to those who had been approved for an exemption, five of whom had died since November.

The country is easing pandemic restrictions as the wave of the Omicron virus recedes. If a new variant emerges or the number of cases rises again, the airline may adjust its trajectory, Limacher said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: United Airlines workers with vaccine exemptions can return to work
United Airlines workers with vaccine exemptions can return to work
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