Inside United Airlines’ Decision to Mandate Coronavirus Vaccines – The New York Times

Mr. Kirbys group had guessed that no more than 70 percent of the airline companys employees were already vaccinated, and the requirement helped encourage most of the rest: Nearly all of Uniteds 67,000 U.S. employees have been immunized, in one of the biggest and most successful business efforts of the kind during the pandemic.The secret to Uniteds success, even in states where vaccination rates are at or listed below the national average, like Texas and Florida, was a gradual effort that started with offering rewards and getting buy-in from staff member groups, particularly unions, which represent a bulk of its workers.About 2,000 employees have actually applied for medical or spiritual exemptions, though their fate stays unclear as United battles a claim over its plan to put them on momentary leave. It has mandated a yellow fever vaccination for flight crews based at Dulles International Airport, near Washington, due to the fact that of a path to Ghana, whose federal government requires it.In January, at a virtual conference, Mr. Kirby informed staff members that he preferred a coronavirus vaccine mandate.Writing letters to households of the workers who had actually passed away from the infection was “the worst thing that I think I will ever do in my career,” he said at the time, according to a transcript. Last month, six staff members took legal action against United, arguing that its strategies to put exempt staff members on short-term leave– overdue in many circumstances– are discriminatory.

Mr. Kirbys team had actually thought that no more than 70 percent of the airlines employees were currently immunized, and the requirement assisted convince most of the rest: Nearly all of Uniteds 67,000 U.S. staff members have been vaccinated, in one of the biggest and most successful business efforts of the kind during the pandemic.The key to Uniteds success, even in states where vaccination rates are at or below the nationwide average, like Texas and Florida, was a gradual effort that started with supplying rewards and getting buy-in from worker groups, particularly unions, which represent a majority of its workers.About 2,000 workers have applied for medical or religious exemptions, though their fate remains unclear as United fights a claim over its strategy to put them on short-lived leave. It has mandated a yellow fever vaccination for flight teams based at Dulles International Airport, near Washington, since of a path to Ghana, whose federal government needs it.In January, at a virtual conference, Mr. Kirby told workers that he preferred a coronavirus vaccine mandate.Writing letters to families of the staff members who had died from the virus was “the worst thing that I believe I will ever do in my profession,” he stated at the time, according to a transcript.” That echo chamber, I think, was essential in influencing the method that our staff members reacted to this,” he said.But a preliminary spike in workers who offered evidence of vaccination was followed by a lull. The airline stated dozens of its employees had passed away after coming down with Covid.United executives said they were amazed that positive feedback from political leaders, clients and the public far exceeded the criticism it received.Customers thanked the airline, and task candidates stated they were delighted to sign up with a business that took staff member safety seriously. Last month, 6 workers sued United, arguing that its strategies to put exempt staff members on short-lived leave– overdue in lots of situations– are inequitable.

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