JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said that less than 300 out of about 21,000 employees did not comply with the airline’s vaccine mandate, as Southwest and other major airlines faced intense protest from staffers over theirs.
Hayes told MSNBC that about 98% of his staff followed the vaccine mandate, a number he expects to grow as the airline continues to host vaccination drives and the December 8 federal deadline approaches.
In October, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said that 99.7% of its workforce complied with the vaccine mandate, and 232 workers did not and remained on paid leave.
Delta Airlines reported last month that 90% of its crew had gotten inoculated.
Things have not been as easy for Southwest: Last month the airline canceled 2,000 flights, which cost them $75 million, a disruption that was largely rumored to be the result of an employee revolt against the vaccine mandate, but the company said was caused by bad weather and air traffic issues.
After the disruptions, the airline shut down its plan to put unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave.
American Airlines, which also suffered mass cancelations after what they said was bad weather, but has experienced complaints from some employees over their mandate, pushed their vaccine deadline to January 4, following the Biden Administration’s extension for federal workers.
JetBlue, American, Southwest and Alaska Airlines are federal contractors, and must comply with the government’s vaccine mandate. That doesn’t mean other airlines are off the hook: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a mandate last week that workers at private companies with over 100 employees must be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing by January 4.
Days after it was issued, a federal appeals court in Louisiana temporarily blocked the new OSHA mandate. However, a representative for the labor department told Forbes that the organization is confident in Osha’s “legal authority” and that the mandate is necessary because “workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them.”
In September, the Biden administration announced a sweeping vaccine mandate for federal contractors that required employees to be vaccinated by December 8. Some federal contractors have pushed back as the deadline fast approaches by holding protests. The new OSHA mandate covers 84 million workers nationally, according to the White House.