200 lost jobs due to mandate
With rival American Airlines still enforcing a vaccination mandate for staff, alongside partners Alaska Airlines and JetBlue, it is uncertain whether United’s move will have knock-on effects across the North American aviation industry.
Some onlookers have argued that a policy change is long overdue, adding guidance was originally appropriate given the severity of the impact caused by the prevalent COVID-19 strain at the time, but no longer suitable given the less severe strains which now dominate.
Questions remain over legality
A previous ruling from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals entitled employees with an approved medical or religious exemption to the mandate to continue to be paid, reportedly costing United almost $3 million a month. A review is also underway over an earlier decision not to block the airline’s policy entirely.
Furthermore, it remains unclear whether United’s reported policy shift will contravene US President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring all federal workers to enforce vaccine mandates.
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