Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides
United Airlines said on Tuesday that they were preparing to fire 593 employees who failed to submit their vaccination certificates.
This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority.
According to the Associated Press, United Airlines became the first US carrier to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all domestic employees, requiring proof of vaccination by Monday.
"We demanded that all US-based United employees be vaccinated for one simple reason: to ensure their safety," said Scott Kerby, chief executive of United Airlines.
UA has 67,000 U.S. based employees and less than 3%, about 2,000, asked to be excluded for medical or religious reasons. 99% of them preferred to be vaccinated.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority," Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told employees in a memo.
A company spokesperson said the airline plans to hire about 25,000 people over the next few years, and vaccination will be a condition of employment for all new hires.
Asked if the vaccination requirement would become a deterrent to job seekers, a United spokesperson said no. They had received over 700 applications for about 400 job postings last month at a career fare in Denver. They also received more than 20,000 applications for about 2,000 open for flight attendants.
[With information from Associated Press]