Aug 6 - United Airlines Inc on Friday became the first American airline to require all its domestic employees to be completely vaccinated against COVID - 19.
The airline said employees would need to show proof of vaccination, five weeks after the federal drug regulatory approvals any of the vaccines from Johnson Johnson - expected sometime in the fall or by Oct. 25, whichever is earlier.
A resurgence of COVID-19 in the United States due to the more infectious Delta variant has forced the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to require some mask mandates and some businesses to reimpose certain vaccinations at workplaces
The facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated, United Chief Executive Officer Brett Hart and President Scott Kirby said in a letter to employees.
U.S. airlines are rebounding from a brutal 2020 when a pandemic force forced them to keep flights, furlough employees and borrow government money to cover wages.
Kirby and Hart said they expected some employees to disagree with the decision, but added that the instruction was issued to make the workplace safer.
Employees who get vaccinated before 20 Sept. and those who have already received their shots will get an additional day of pay.
The mandate coincides with growing concern over the impact of Delta variant. On Thursday, Frontier Airlines lowered its forecast for the third quarter and warned that the Delta variant was negatively impacting demand.
United's pilots union, which represents more than 12,000 pilots, said the vaccines requirement requires further negotiation with United, adding that a few flying pilots don't agree with the mandate.
Illinois-based United reached a deal with its pilots' union in May that does not make vaccination compulsory, but provides extra pay to those who receive it.