In a speech to the nation last night that focused on new vaccine mandates for federal workers and large companies, President Joe Biden praised United Airlines and demanded respect for airline workers, singling out flight attendants. He also announced that fines for airline passengers who fail to wear masks will be doubled.
Praising United Airlines An Archetype, Biden Calls For Mandatory Vaccines
Against the backdrop of stagnate vaccine program, Biden addressed Americans last night from the White House. Throughout his speech, he expressed frustration for those who have refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19, arguing that it has unnecessarily prolonged the pandemic for everyone:
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing. But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, ‘If only I had gotten vaccinated.’ ‘If only.’
“It’s a tragedy. Please don’t let it become yours.”
To raise vaccination rates, Biden is ordering mandatory vaccinations for employees of companies with 1oo or more workers.
“But we need to do more. This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you — the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.
“My job as President is to protect all Americans.
“So, tonight, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees, that together employ over 80 million workers, to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.
“Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this: United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Food, and even Fox News.”
United Airlines became one of the first major U.S. companies to require a vaccine for all employees in early August. The vaccination deadline takes effect later this month.
Biden: Respect Flight Attendants
After meeting with the Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson earlier in the day, President Biden also included a plea to show respect to flight attendants and other airline workers in his speech:
“Tonight, I’m announcing that the Transportation Safety Administration — the TSA — will double the fines on travelers that refuse to mask. If you break the rules, be prepared to pay.
“And, by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong; it’s ugly.”
Thank you for asking about Flight Attendants and expressing concern for how we are doing. We look forward to hearing from you tomorrow night and we will continue to work with you to end this pandemic. And yes, together We Have Power. #1u 2/2
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) September 8, 2021
The new fines, implemented by the TSA, are theoretical only. Most mask offenders never have to pay a cent.
As the White House attempts to mandate vaccines for more Americans, the President has praised United Airlines and condemned the mistreatment of flight attendants. Meanwhile, United may be an early test case for whether employers can actually mandate employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
image: White House