United Airlines announced that they will be firing almost 600 employees who have refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
Just last month the company announced that all of its 67,000 U.S. employees would be required to get vaccinated by September 27 or else seek a viable exemption.
Those who didn’t comply with the medical mandates were advised that they faced termination, which several hundred have in an effort to avoid the shot as the Sept. 27 deadline moved past.
Officials for the company said that they will be firing 593 employees who didn’t comply, but told the offending employees that they hurry and get the shot before their termination meets they can “still save their jobs.”
“We know for some, that decision was a reluctant one,” United Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart wrote in a letter to employees Tuesday. “But there’s no doubt in our minds that some of you will have avoided a future hospital stay—or even death—because you got vaccinated.”
The CEO told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that he feels bad for the hundreds of soon-to-be-unemployed workers, but said that it’s only about one percent of his employees.
“[L]ook, I’m really proud and gratified that the United team, excluding the people who have applied for religious or medical accommodations. Over 99 percent got vaccinated,” Kirby said according to Breitbart News.
“You know, I wish it could have been 100 percent, but it was never going to be 100 percent, but I think 99 percent we feel really good about. You know, I feel bad for the 593 people, that less than 1 percent that are going to leave, but we’re focused on doing the right thing for United Airlines. And it’s great to have this in the rearview mirror for us and the ability to just move forward now,” Kirby went on.
“[W]e planned and prepared for this that we’re now able to confidently run a strong operation. At United Airlines, there’s no worry at all because we’ll have everyone already vaccinated. And this really is just great.”