In the midst of the international crisis with Ukraine, one major airline has quietly rescinded its vaccine mandate for employees.
Recently, United Airline Holdings, Inc. will permit unvaccinated employees for either medical or religious reasons to return back to employment at the end of March.
The airline’s decision was reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, according to various individuals familiar with the airline’s decision.
In addition, this decision also allows staffers who have exemptions due to medical or religious reasons to return from unpaid leave or other roles in which they did not face customers, employment options that they were provided as alternatives to their regular job responsibilities, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
When Reuters contacted United Airlines for additional clarity, the company declined to comment.
In the past month, a U.S. appeals court has also requested a new review of the decision to not block the major airline from enforcing COVID vaccine mandates for workers.
United Airlines, which is based in Chicago, was the first major airline in the United States to issue a vaccine mandate.
At the time, Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby doubled down on the mandate for employees, declaring that the mandate was done out of “safety” reasons, going as far as to claim that the mandate “saved lives.”
The United Airlines CEO also added that approximately 200 employees out of 67,000 would not accept a forcible vaccine mandate, and they were subsequently fired.
Those particular employees will not have the opportunity
Chicago-based United was the first major air carrier to issue a vaccine requirement, and its Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby had defended the employee mandate, saying “we did this for safety. We believe it saved lives.”
Kirby said about 200 of the company’s 67,000 employees refused to get vaccinated and were fired.
While the airline has somewhat backed down from its vaccine mandates, at least with regards to employees with documented exceptions, all newly hired employees will be forced to be vaccinated against COVID, according to the Wall Street Journal.