United Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would fire 593 workers from the company who have “chosen” not to be vaccinated under its COVID-19 policy, one of the strictest among companies in the country.
In an internal message sent Tuesday by top executives to the workforce, United Airlines notes that more than 99% of its 67,000 employees have been vaccinated seven weeks after implementing its vaccination policy, acknowledging that some were “reluctant” and others have asked for exemptions.
“Finally, for the less than 1% of people who have chosen not to vaccinate, we will unfortunately begin the process of separation from the airline in accordance with our policy,” CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said in a note to say “thank you” to the majority of workers.
According to a spokesman, the move affects 593 people. United Airlines required in early August that its entire workforce be vaccinated in the coming weeks or face layoff.
United Airlines is one of several companies, such as Tyson Foods, Walmart, and the big tech companies, that have imposed mandates on their workers but is arguably the strictest, since unlike the others it does not propose frequent covid-19 testing as an alternative to the jab.
Other airlines in the country have remained on the sidelines and have not required their employees to get vaccinated, although Delta Airlines has sought to encourage this by raising the health insurance premium for those who subscribe to its plan and do not do so, arguing that hospitalizations are a high cost.