Last week United Airlines became the first major airline to throw down the vaccine gauntlet and require that all of their U.S. employees inject themselves with an experimental drug. That’s right, if you wish to continue your working relationship with United Airlines, you need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 25th or five weeks after the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval to any one of the vaccines currently out there.
Why, because they care? No, that’s not it… not really. They simply want you to believe that they care. If they really cared they’d allow you to make your own medical choices on what you do to your body. So much for ‘following the science’ and ‘my body, my choice.’
Yet, despite tons of money and oodles of ads of smiling flight attendants, passengers and children flying the friendly skies, it’s the images of United’s real world policy failures that prevail.
Shirley Yamauchi was forced to give up her 2-year-old son’s seat to a standby passenger. She spent the next 18 hours with her son on her lap because she was afraid of a physical confrontation. She told Hawaii News Now, "I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. The violence. Teeth getting knocked out. I'm Asian. I'm scared and I felt uncomfortable. I didn't want those things to happen to me."
She was of course referring to Dr. David Dao who was dragged down the aisle and off the plane like an oversized carry-on. This resulted in United Airlines changing its policy and no longer allowing crew members to displace customers who have already boarded along with offering up to $10,000 in travel vouchers to passengers who voluntarily get bumped.
Eliz Orban and her husband were not just kicked off of a flight but also banned from flying on United Airlines for life. All because their two-year-old daughter, Edeline refused to wear her face mask at a time when the World Health Organization was recommending against masking children under the age of five.
Of course, we cannot forget other United Airline passengers who didn’t fare so well…
Simon, the 10-month-old giant rabbit who died after a flight from London to Chicago and was cremated by United Airlines without permission after it was found dead.
I’m sure we all remember hearing about the French Bulldog puppy that died as a result of being stuffed into an overhead bin because the bag it was traveling in didn’t fit under the seat. Or how about the following day when United Airlines flew a German Shepherd to Japan instead of Kansas.
None of that sounds very friendly to me. In fact, it sounds downright frightening. United Airlines has an image problem.
To be clear, I am talking about United Airlines, the company and not the employees. In fact, I have to give props to those who work in the airline industry, especially those who have the pleasure of working directly with the general public. God bless you because I couldn’t do it. I’d lose it at the first entitled passenger who demands everything come to a screeching halt until their needs are met.
Ironically, while it’s called United Airlines, it’s anything but. Which brings me back to the company mandated vaccines. If anyone wanted to know how to create a hostile work environment, this is it. The lines are drawn but it’s not as clear cut as you may think. It’s not just the vaccinated and the anti-vaxxers and to believe that is shortsighted and ignorant.
First of all, if someone chooses not to get this particular experimental vaccine it does not mean they’re anti-vaxx. It’s absurd and is nothing more than an uneducated and immature attempt to shame and bully.
Second, there are many employees who have been vaccinated who are horrified by this company mandate and what it will mean going forward. The choice to get the jab(s) is a personal one and should be left to the individual and not mandated as a condition of employment.
Because for most airline workers, this is a career and not just a job. Your co-workers, spread all over the world are your work family. Now unvaccinated employees, some giving decades of service to United Airlines, are now faced with a difficult and heartbreaking choice all while facing scorn from the vaccinated. Yes, I said heartbreaking because you don’t stick with a job year after year after year unless you love what it is that you do.
Sadly, last Friday, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby and Brett Hart, President, showed exactly what that type of loyalty was worth. Submit to their will, regardless of any consequences or leave.
They will however allow some employees to be exempt from the jab for medical and religious reasons as long as you submit the proper documentation. Of course, any employee who submits false or fraudulent information will be terminated.
I can understand a company requiring documentation in order to provide reasonable accommodations for those requesting a medical exemption but are you honestly telling me that employees need to submit documentation proving how devout they are? Documentation which will be under review pending approval?
And who would be doing this review?
I don’t know about you but where I come from there is only one person who can judge me on my faith and what is in my heart and it’s not United Airlines. The arrogance alone is offensive.
When United Airlines’ Christian employees attend mass on Sunday at the airport, do they need to provide documentation? If Jewish employees require Friday night off, must they also provide a note? What about their Muslim employees who require certain times to pray? Shouldn’t the same rules apply to everyone?
At least the airline is finally united on treating both their customers and employees the same.
However, there may still be one hope left for those United Airlines employees who still believe in individual freedoms. While it pains me to say it, United Airlines employees are unionized. It’s up to the unions. It’s time for the union to step up for the workers now and not try to rectify it after employees have been disciplined or terminated.
Do something now before a worker goes against their beliefs, against what they know to be right for themselves because they have no choice. All because the union never had their back and trust me, no one will forget that. Elections may have consequences but so does inaction.
In response to the Biden administration federal employee mandate, the American Postal Workers Union issued this statement,
“Maintaining the health and safety of our members is of paramount importance. While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent. Issues related to vaccinations and testing for COVID-19 in the workplace must be negotiated with the APWU. At this time the APWU opposes the mandating of COVID-19 vaccinations in relation to U.S. postal workers.”
I guess that’s what a big boy union does. Personally, if it were me, I’d tell every union member who wants action now to become a dues objector. That’ll get their attention real quick.
Because where does it end? Two shots and a booster? A second booster? A third and maybe a fourth? What about the next variant? How many more shots? When will the mandates end?
Let’s not forget about all of the United Airline’s stations scattered across the country that are outsourced, meaning they’re not run by actual United Airlines employees. Will those companies eventually require their employees to get the jab as well? Everyone needs to be vaccinated or what’s the point, right? Customers can feel safe flying out of New York because the United Airlines employees are all vaccinated but when they land in Providence those aren’t actual United Airline employees standing there and therefore not subject to United Airlines’ vaccine mandate. Yet.
I have trouble accepting United Airlines’ claims of concern regarding the COVID-19 virus as genuine. Because if they did, why would they knowingly fly COVID positive illegal aliens out of Texas and distribute them all over the country?
Lastly, to the non-employee flying public, United Airlines is not requiring their passengers to be fully vaccinated and say they don’t see themselves going that route. You can almost hear the ads telling you how safe they are because everyone is vaccinated and you can feel safe too by flying with them. So, if everyone needs to be vaccinated to be safe wouldn’t that also include the passengers especially when you consider the whole passenger to employee ratio.
My bet is it’s coming… all for your safety and the safety of our employees…
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