United Airlines firing 593 employees amid forced vaccinations

FILE - In this July 2, 2021 file photo, a United Airlines jetliner taxis down a runway for take off from Denver International Airport in Denver. United Airlines has been fined, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, $1.9 million over 25 delayed flights in which passengers were stuck on the ground for at least three hours. It's the largest fine ever imposed by the U.S. Transportation Department for such long delays.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, file)

FILE – In this July 2, 2021 file photo, a United Airlines jetliner taxis down a runway for take off from Denver International Airport in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, file)

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UPDATED 8:17 AM PT – Thursday, September 30, 2021

United Airlines is set to fire nearly 600 of its employees who are choosing not to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The airline announced its vaccine mandate in August, in turn, forcing all employees to get vaccinated by September 27 or face termination.

In an email to employees Wednesday, United Airlines said more than 99 percent of its workforce has gotten vaccinated or applied for a religious or medical exemption. Company CEO Scott Kirby said they are now beginning the process of firing 593 workers.

“I feel bad for the 593 people, less than one 1 percent, that are going to leave, but we are focused on doing the right thing for United Airlines,” he stated. “And it’s great to have this in the rearview mirror for us and the ability to just move forward now.”

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United had originally planned to put employees who received an exemption on temporary leave starting October 2, but the airline postponed those plans until October 15 after six employees sued the airline.

“We’re now able to, you know, confidently run a strong operation,” Kirby continued. “If you look at the federal requirements, which could go into effect as early as December 8…with united Airlines there’s no worry at all because we’ll have everyone who’s working at the airport already vaccinated.”

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