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American News Sep 29, 2021 12:02 PM EST

United Airlines to terminate hundreds of employees over vaccine refusal

"This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority," the airline said in the memo.

United Airlines to terminate hundreds of employees over vaccine refusal
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Following an announcement from United Airlines in early August issuing a vaccine mandate for all employees, the company said that they are moving forward with terminations of those that have not complied.

According to The New York Times, the company said in a memo sent to staff on Tuesday that it will be terminating around 600 employees for noncompliance.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority," the airline said in the memo.

It was on September 9 that President Joe Biden issued a vaccine mandate for all companies that have over 100 employees.

On Wednesday, the company reportedly said that it is moving forward with terminations of US-based employees following the early august announcement that all employees would be required to provide proof of vaccination within five weeks of a vaccine's full approval by the Food and Drug Administration or by October 25, whichever came first.

In late August, the FDA issued a full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19. The five week mark occurred this week. United has said that it would fire those that did not comply with its new policy.

"We will work with folks if during that process they decide to get vaccinated," said a spokeswoman at United Airlines.

Those being terminated represent less than one percent of the company's US work force of 67,000.

"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 back in August during the initial announcement.

"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.

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