America’s flag carrier American Airlines has announced the delay in implementation of protocols that required its employees to get fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The delayed date has now been set to 4th Jan. The decision was rolled out four hours after administration under Joe Biden delayed its deadline for federal contractors to meet the protocols.
The New Guidelines
As per the previous requirements, more than 100,000 American Airlines’ mainline employees had to get both jabs of Covid-19 by 24th November in order to be fully vaccinated by December 8th which was the deadline before.
CEO Doug Parker and President of American Airlines Robert Isom issued an employee memo stating that under new development of events, all US team members and Latin-American crew members now have until January 4th, 2022 to get fully vaccinated and submit proof of vaccination or to request for accommodation. The airline was earlier also offering an extra vacation day along with company incentives worth $50 which has also been extended until the same deadline.
Along with American Airlines, Southwest Airlines is also expected to make a similar decision. A backlash was faced by both the airlines from the pilots’ labor union and other employees in regards to the mandate. The executives weren’t expecting the deadlines to impact the holidays as the previous deadline was falling one day before thanksgiving. The extension in deadline has now provided them with more time to comply.
Previously the union representing the American Airlines’ pilot had written to the Biden administration in September, seeking an alternative option to this 60-day deadline such as regular covid testing as they felt that these deadlines could have affected the operations of the airlines, labor shortages, and flight disruptions.
These airlines including Alaska Airways and JetBlue Airways are federal contractors and would comply with the rules of the Biden administration. However, rules are quite stricter for any non-contractor company with more than 100 employees.