United Announces Company Wide COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement
August 6, 2021
This morning United announced that as of September 20, 2021, all United employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. With this announcement, United joins other companies to mandate the vaccine, including: Disney, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Uber among others.
As we’ve seen recently with the rise in COVID-19 infections due to the Delta variant, the pandemic is far from over. There is also growing concerns among the medical community that other more dangerous variants are emerging as the virus continues to spread and mutate mostly through unvaccinated people who are vulnerable to infection.
The announcement today shouldn’t be a big surprise to United employees, CEO Scott Kirby has been saying for months that he’s in favor of mandating the vaccine. Our union worked hard to promote access and negotiate incentives - Vaccine Letter of Agreement. We were successful on both fronts. The recently announced and updated country restrictions requiring vaccination and rise in COVID have all been indicators that management would eventually come to this decision to mandate the vaccine for employees.
Vaccination requirements are not new to any Flight Attendant who has children, or even to our industry. Today, some destinations require vaccines in order to work trips. 80% of United Flight Attendants are already vaccinated against COVID-19.
One of the evolving pieces on this issue is the expected full approval of the vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration this fall, addressing some individuals concerns about the vaccine safety. There has also been guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that employers are legally permitted to make employees get vaccinated, with very few exceptions on an individual basis.
This pandemic has forced our industry to dramatically adapt to an ever-evolving set of circumstances. With all that we have been through since the beginning of the pandemic, all that we have fought for and won, there is now too much at risk to not ensure the safety and well-being of United Flight Attendants. COVID-19 is a threat. There are proven strategies to mitigate that threat. Vaccination is necessary to end the pandemic and the health and economic harm it has caused.
Experts agree, vaccination is our best defense against COVID-19 and the extension of harm. We’ve seen a notable uptick of test positives over the last two weeks, majority of which are unvaccinated Flight Attendants though some breakthrough infections have been recorded. Now is not the time to let our guard down. The safest thing for us to do is continue our layered approach to this pandemic: getting vaccinated and wearing a mask! It’s our best defense for our own health, the health of our flying partners, our families, and the economic stability of our jobs and industry.
We encourage you to read the company’s communication, including any FAQ’s and Updates to remain informed.
P.S. Still need to get vaccinated? Go to vaccines.gov to find a location near you, then call or visit their website to make an appointment and get vaxxed!