As the federal deadline approaches for federal contractors to get vaccinated, Southwest Airlines has revealed that 93% of its employees are currently in compliance.
Southwest Airlines Reports 93% Compliance Rate One Month Ahead Of Federal Vaccine Deadline
Southwest, like other federal contractors with 100 or more employees, faces a January 4, 2022 deadline for all employees to be vaccinated from COVID-19 or receive an exemption on medial or religious grounds.
In an internal memo leaked to the Dallas Morning News, Southwest provided an update on it vaccination progress. Southwest Emergency Director Steve Goldberg noted:
“We continue to work through accommodation requests received and are pleased to report that the large majority of our compliant employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
While the memo noted that about 93% of employees are vaccinated or exempted, it did not detail what percentage or number of employees have sought an exemption.
Small protests continue outside company headquarters at Dallas Love Field, but Southwest CEO Gary Kelly has promised “we’re not going to fire any of our employees over this.”
A Southwest spokesperson clarified:
“We continue to work through accommodation requests as we get closer to the January deadline. As a reminder, those approved for an accommodation will follow additional safety protocols that are in development.”
Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has outright rejected a vaccine mandate and said that over 90% of employees chose to be exempted anyway. Delta now charges employees a $200/month surcharge if they are unvaccinated and take part in the company health care program. American Airlines notes a “vast majority” of employees have been vaccinated, but offered no specifics. 100% of United employees are vaccinated or exempted after the carrier introduced its own vaccine mandate prior to the federal rule.
While the January 4th deadline remains, the Biden Administration has given airlines (and other companies) broad discretion to enforce its own rules.
Southwest Airlines currently boats a 93% compliance rate ahead of the federal vaccination deadline. It is currently unclear what percentage of employees have sought an exemption over the vaccination. Meanwhile, court cases across the nation continue to fight the mandate, with courts in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee currently placing the feral rule on hold within their jurisdictions.
image: Southwest Airlines