American Airways delays vaccine mandate deadline until 2022 immediately after Biden shifts deadline

Pilots discuss as they seem at the tail of an American Airlines plane at Dallas-Ft Worth Global Airport.

Mike Stone | Reuters

American Airways is delaying the implementation of rules that demand all staff members to be vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19 until eventually Jan. 4, several hours right after the Biden administration postponed its deadline for federal contractors to satisfy the necessities.

Beforehand, American Airlines’ much more than 100,000 mainline staff had to get their previous Covid vaccine shot by Nov. 24, if finding a two-shot vaccine, in get to to be totally vaccinated by Dec. 8, the aged deadline.

“Supplied this growth, all U.S. crew associates and Latin The united states-based crew members have until Jan. 4, 2022 to submit proof of vaccination or a request for accommodation,” CEO Doug Parker and American’s president, Robert Isom, wrote in an worker memo. The airline is also extending its offer of an more holiday vacation working day and a $50 worthy of of corporation incentives to Jan. 4.

Southwest Airlines and other carriers are possible to follow go well with.

Both of all those airways have confronted opposition from pilots’ labor unions and some other workforce versus the mandate. Airline executives at the carriers have urged workers to utilize for exemptions in buy to meet up with the vaccination deadline, which formerly fell the day just before Thanksgiving. The executives stated they did not anticipate the mandate to impact getaway vacation, but the new deadline provides them extra time to comply.

The union that represents American Airlines’ pilots wrote to Biden administration officials and lawmakers in September warning the 60-working day implementation time period could bring about labor shortages and flight disruptions. The union also sought alternative to the mandate these as regular Covid screening. “We’re delighted to see you can find more time to grapple with this very consequential government buy,” explained Allied Pilots Association spokesman and American Airlines captain Dennis Tajer, just after the extension of the federal contractor deadline was introduced. He reported that the union is still requesting that the administration give “major thing to consider” to a standard tests option, in line with the OSHA policies.

American, Southwest, Alaska Airways and JetBlue Airways, are federal contractors, carrying U.S. mail, governing administration personnel, cargo and supplying other expert services. Each of individuals airlines have reported they would comply with the Biden administration’s rules, unveiled in September, that call for federal contractors to assure their employees are vaccinated or receive an exemption.

The guidelines are stricter than the vaccine prerequisites the Biden administration introduced on Thursday for non-contractor organizations with a lot more than 100 personnel, which enable for staff members to be tested frequently alternatively of acquiring vaccinated.

United Airlines issued its possess mandate in the summer season that required employees to be vaccinated, get an exemption or encounter termination. The Chicago-based mostly airline states that extra than 96% of its U.S. workforce are vaccinated.

Delta Air Lines states that some 90% of its U.S. personnel is vaccinated. The organization didn’t difficulty a mandate but this month started charging unvaccinated staff $200 additional a thirty day period for company overall health coverage.

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