December 2, 2021

Southwest Airlines caves in on vaccine mandates, lays groundwork for other industries to fight back against mandates

Vaccine mandates handed down from on high seem like a problem too big to overcome. However, one company demonstrated there is strength in numbers.

Southwest Airlines has nixed a plan to penalize workers who fail to get the COVID-19 jab, Breitbart reported. The company had previously announced employees would be forced onto unpaid leave if still unvaccinated by December 8.

“The employee will continue to work, while following all COVID mask and distancing guidelines applicable to their position, until the accommodation has been processed,” an internal memo by top executives stated, according to CNBC. This comes after protests at company headquarters as well as a possible “sick-out” the company and the media have tried to downplay.

Because Southwest contracts with the U.S. government, employees fall under Biden’s recently announced vaccine mandate. However, executives were quick to reassure employees that their jobs were not in jeopardy despite the mandate.

Still, Southwest had canceled over a thousand flights last weekend claiming it was due to weather as the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association tried to minimize any connection. Meanwhile, the three other major airlines canceled less than 100 in that same time period, the Daily Wire reported.

The airline has since taken a softer approach, now allowing employees to collect their pay while awaiting religious or medical exemptions that need to be in by November 24. Even for those whose exemptions are insufficient, the airline will allow them to remain on the job “as we coordinate with them on meeting the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation),” a spokesperson confirmed.

Vaccine mandates are putting the squeeze on the unvaccinated in many facets of life. Even some cities like San Francisco and New York are now requiring restaurant patrons to show proof of the jab, according to the Associated Press.

It’s encouraging to see one industry where the pushback seemed to have made a difference, and people should take heart. The only way these rules can be enforced is if most people comply and remain silent — but Southwest employees have shown that solidarity makes a difference, even if the media won’t admit it.

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