The company has been accused of instructing employees to lie to travelers about the existence of mandatory vaccines. With the company’s response, it is unclear whether or not this policy will continue after the current controversy.
Are Southwest employees being told to lie about vaccination requirements?
on October 13, 2021 by Gary Leff
Employees who may be staging sick outs in protest of vaccination requirements are instructed to lie. They are unable to talk publicly about their actions since doing so would constitute an unlawful strike under the Railway Labor Act. While the Southwest Airlines pilots union claims that none of its members would call in sick to harm the carrier’s operations in protest, we do see pretty public implicit comments such as this one. (Image courtesy of Live and Let’s Fly)
A picture of a grounded Southwest aircraft flying a Gadsden flag from the cockpit was just shared to me. Southwest and other airlines’ hero pilots deserve our support. True patriots in the tradition of the American Freedom Fighters. Don’t Step On My Toes. They are blessed by God. pic.twitter.com/tAo9pT4Q60
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) 10/11/2021
Airlines don’t want to lose workers, particularly pilots, especially as the Christmas travel season approaches. As a result, they urge workers to be vaccinated in order to avoid violating federal regulations (and not to lose their government contracts). What they actually want is to avoid having to dismiss workers, particularly pilots, who are expensive and time-consuming to educate, just when air transport is regaining its footing.
So, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly says he doesn’t think businesses should impose vaccinations, but because he doesn’t have a choice, he wants workers who don’t want to get vaccinated to seek a medical or religious exemption. (Hint: they will be approved by Southwest.)
I’ve never been a fan of businesses enforcing such a requirement. That is something I have never been in favor of. However, President Biden’s executive order requires all government workers and subsequently all federal contractors, which includes all major airlines, to have a requirement — a vaccination in place by December 8th.
We’re working on it, and we’re recommending that all of our workers be vaccinated. If they are unable to do so, we strongly advise them to seek accomodation, whether for medical or religious reasons. And, clearly, my objective is to ensure that no one loses their job.
United Airlines is being sued for their exemptions procedure, which delves extensively into employee views and necessitates letters from pastors (and telling those who do get an exemption they will go onto unpaid leave). That doesn’t seem to be what we can anticipate from Southwest. Not to mention the fact that there is a preacher who sells exemption letters.
Fortunately, no one is asking workers to print a CDC vaccination card off the internet and handwrite on it, with the only difficulty being obtaining card material for it – which may not be a big deal because they’ll simply scan it and submit it anyhow.
As requirements are implemented, I anticipate discussions like this -‘speak no evil, hear no evil’ – to take place throughout the nation, but some workers will still feel the need to have their opinion heard and refuse to comply.
More From the Wing’s Perspective