October 5 (WNN) — Southwest Airlines has added its name to a growing list of carriers to mandate all employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dallas-based company said in a brief statement Monday that all of its 54,000 employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or receive religious, medical or disability accommodations, by December 8 to remain employed with the airline. .
“Southwest Airlines must join forces with our industry peers in complying with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination directive,” said Gary Kelly, president and chief executive of Southwest Airlines. “I encourage all Southwest employees to complete the federal directive as soon as possible, as we value each individual and want to ensure job security for all.”
United Airlines became the first major carrier to introduce a vaccine mandate in August and was followed by Hawaiian Airlines and several others.
Southwest’s move follows President Joe Biden last month directing all federal employees to be vaccinated against the virus, as well as businesses with 100 or more employees to do the same.
In its statement, Southwest said it decided to issue the vaccine mandate after an “in-depth review” of the president’s action plan and determined that its contracts with the US government require full compliance with the federal vaccination directive.
Delta Air Lines is having a notable gripe in the airline industry for not issuing a vaccine mandate.
Instead, the company has encouraged employees to become vaccinated against COVID-19 by charging non-vaccinated workers an additional $200 per month for health insurance.