Like the remainder of the airline trade, United Airways is being clobbered by omicron. At Newark Airport not too long ago, almost one-third of its workforce referred to as in sick on a single day. However in a memo sent to workers on Tuesday, CEO Scott Kirby pointed to at least one specific early but tough decision United made that he’s turn into very happy with: giving all 67,000 of its U.S. workers the selection to both get vaccinated or be fired.
He says a ton of United workers presently have COVID-19, as the corporate continues to should cancel flights and grapple with the quickly spreading new variant.
“Along with impacting our operation and our clients, I do know that Omicron has affected the private well-being of our United group,” his letter says. “We have now about 3,000 workers who’re presently optimistic for COVID.” Nonetheless, he goes on to notice a significant enchancment in a single space: “Previous to our vaccine requirement, multiple worker on common *per week* was dying from COVID. However we’ve now gone eight straight weeks with zero COVID-related deaths amongst our vaccinated workers.”
— davidshepardson (@davidshepardson) January 11, 2022
Again in August, United grew to become the primary airline to announce a companywide mandate for the vaccine—both get it, otherwise you’re gone. In a interval of two months, it went from 59% of its workers being vaccinated to more than 99% (minus a small subset who had been exempt). Kirby referred to as this “a historic achievement.”
The anti-vax crowd protested loudly, and a small group of United workers even sued to dam enforcement, however a federal court docket dismissed their suit in mid-December. For the reason that fall, primarily based on United’s information and the nationwide statistics for unvaccinated staff, Kirby notes which means “there are roughly 8-10 staff who’re alive at present due to our vaccine requirement.” He additionally says that of United’s 3,000 workers who’ve COVID proper now, not a single vaccinated worker is presently hospitalized.
Kirby ends his letter by saying, “In coping with COVID, zero is the phrase that issues—zero deaths and nil hospitalizations for vaccinated workers.” He provides: “Whereas I do know that some folks nonetheless disagree with our coverage, United is proving that requiring the vaccine is the proper factor to do as a result of it saves lives.”