Airline To Fire Unvaccinated Workers

by Kevin Burton

   Almost 600 workers for United Airlines now face termination for not complying with the company’s Covid 19 vaccination requirement, according to published reports.

   “The vast majority of its 67,000 US staff have supplied proof of vaccination, which was required by Monday,” according to a report on the BBC website.

   “The Chicago-based airline set out its Covid requirements for staff in August.

Its US employees had to upload proof of vaccination, or the first of two shots, by the deadline,” the BBC wrote.

   The 593 workers who have refused a Covid vaccine and have not applied for an exemption on religious or medical grounds now face losing their jobs.

   Of course you know we haven’t heard the last of this.  

  “Our rationale for requiring the vaccine for all United’s US-based employees was simple, to keep our people safe,” chief executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said in a statement Tuesday.

   “And the truth is this: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated, and vaccine requirements work. This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority.”

   I had a lot of trouble with United early this century with cancelled and delayed flights, to the point where I never fly United on a route if any other airline has a seat available.

    Based on the decisions it made about cancelling flights that were not full, it was clear to me then that profit was United’s first second and third priority.

   I’m guessing someone has calculated potential lawsuits from both sides of the vaccination debate, made a financial decision and wrapped it in “safety.”

    Some of the employees who risk losing their jobs, “could be kept on if they have been vaccinated and have simply failed to submit proof, or if they are vaccinated before formal meetings on the matter,” the BBC reported.

   United said it would follow the rules outlined in union agreements on the dismissals. The process could take weeks or months.

   A further 2,000 employees have requested an exemption to the policy. United previously said it would put those who are exempt on temporary, unpaid leave beginning Oct. 2. But those plans were put on hold after a lawsuit was filed by six employees challenging the policy.

   In other Covid-related news, The BBC reported that a Vietnamese man has been sentenced to five years in prison for violating that country’s Covid laws and spreading the virus.

   “A court found Le Van Tri guilty of ‘transmitting dangerous infectious diseases’ to eight people, one of whom eventually died,” according to the report.

   Until recently Vietnam had been largely successful in keeping Covid out with tight restrictions. But infections have surged since June, with an outbreak fueled by the more contagious Delta variant, the BBC reported.

   “The country has seen more than 530,000 cases with more than 13,300 deaths, many of which have occurred the last few months.

Many of those cases have been found in Ho Chi Minh City.”

   In early July, Tri, 28, had reportedly travelled by motorcycle from Ho Chi Minh City to his home province Ca Mau in the south of the country, the BBC reported.

   At Ca Mau, Tri was found to have lied on a health declaration form which asked about his recent travel history, and also failed to comply with isolation rules.

   Local authorities at the time had made it mandatory that anyone travelling from other provinces into Ca Mau had to immediately isolate themselves for 21 days.

Tri later tested positive for Covid, and was found to have transmitted the virus to members of his family as well as staff at a welfare center which he visited, the BBC reported

   Tri was sentenced to jail at the end of a one-day trial, and was also fined the equivalent of $880. 

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