FORT WORTH, Texas - Fort Worth-based American Airlines will now require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
American Airlines said the Biden Administration now considers it a government contractor, so new, stricter government requirements apply.
It also follows the White House's push to have other major airlines vaccinate their workers by December 8.
This will apply to all domestic American Airlines employees and some international employees.
According to the airline, that’s about 100,000 employees.
American Airlines aircraft.(Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
American said specifics regarding this company-wide mandate will be coming later this week.
A letter was sent out Friday explaining that due to American’s agreements with the U.S. government, the airline is a government contractor. Therefore, it will have to follow the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for all federal employees.
According to American, regular COVID-19 testing will not be an alternative, but employees can apply for a medical or religious exemption.
A representative Allied Pilots Association, a union representing 14,000 American Airlines pilots headquartered in Fort Worth, revealed that out of the 14,000 pilots, 10,000 are vaccinated. That’s about 70%.
The union’s president has made it clear it should be up to American Airlines employees to decide.
He released a statement over the weekend reading: "APA is neither anti-vaccine, nor anti-mandate, but we insist on a path forward that takes into consideration our pilots’ needs and concerns while promoting a safe and healthy workplace."
"The airlines are really in the position where the labor forces are already strained. They are having a really hard times finding pilots and flight attendants and other people that are necessary to maintain service," SMU economist Mike Davis said. "If people get sick and they are out for an extended period of time, and with COVID you can be out for a long time, that will be bad for the airlines."
FOX 4 reached out to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents 24,000 American flight attendants.
It’s unclear the percentage of vaccinated American flight attendants, but the union said it "will make sure the company abides by the executive order."
Still no word from Southwest Airlines if they will implement mandatory vaccines. Right now, vaccines are encouraged at Southwest.
United Airline’s deadline for employees to show proof of vaccination already passed.
The airline announced 99% of its employees complied, having to fire around 500 employees.