United Airlines to mandate vaccines for all US employees

The mandate will apply to the company’s 67,000 US-based employees, United Airlines said.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Friday, one of the largest airlines in America, United Airlines, announced that it will be requiring its US-based employees to get the coronavirus vaccine as Delta variant cases rise across the country. The mandate will apply to the company's 67,000 US-based employees, United Airlines said.

Employees will be required to show proof of vaccination five weeks after full approval for the coronavirus vaccine is announced by the Food and Drug Administration, or five weeks after Sept. 20, whichever comes first, according to the Washington Post. The latest possible deadline to show proof based on that timeline would be Oct. 25.

"We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees," United's chief executive Scott Kirby, and president of the company Brett Hart, wrote in a letter to employees.

"But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated," the letter read.

The airline joins a growing list of companies, including Facebook, Disney, and Google, that are mandating vaccines for their employees as COVID-19 cases surge across the country, forcing the return of mask mandates and questions on how to get more Americans vaccinated.

United Airlines is the first large airline to mandate that all its employees get vaccinated, with other carriers relying on incentives like vacations days and gift cards to push their employees to get vaccinated. Delta Airlines issued a mandate back in May that only applies to new employees.

American Airlines is one of those carriers relying on incentives, with chief executive Doug Parker saying Thursday that "we certainly encourage it everywhere we can, encourage it for our customers and our employees, but we’re not putting mandates in place."

Employees with United Airlines that show proof of vaccination by Sept. 20 will receive an additional day of pay.


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