Employees at American and Southwest Airlines have started protesting their companies' Covid-19 vaccination mandates for its workers.
Both airlines have told workers that they must be vaccinated or else face termination by November 24, before the busy holiday travel season begins. Both airlines allow employees to request religious or medical vaccine exemptions, though it's unclear how many will be granted.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim there are not any long-term side effects from the approved COVID-19 vaccines, however, this is not been proven.
Hundreds of AA workers and allies protested outside the company's Fort Worth, Texas headquarters on Thursday. The protesters told The Dallas Morning News that they are skeptical of the vaccines' effectiveness and their unreported side effects.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), a union, has filed a lawsuit against SWA over its vaccine mandate, The Dallas Morning News reported. SWAPA has authorized its members to demonstrate against the mandate and strenuous working conditions during the pandemic. The union has also authorized $1 million in support of those protests, which could begin this fall, SWAPA president Casey Murray said.
A union for SWA mechanics has also issued a statement opposing the mandate on contractual grounds, the publication added.
Both companies put mandates into place to comply with federal requirements instated by Democratic President Joe Biden. Biden said that all federal contractors need to vaccinate their employees by December 4. Both airlines have contracts with the federal government.
Several airline worker unions have warned that firing unvaccinated workers may worsen worker shortages and employee burnout, both which have worsened during the ongoing pandemic.
AirAsia just announced that all passengers must be vaccinated in order to fly on their airline.