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United’s CEO Continues COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby demonstrates wearing a face mask in an airline-produced video. Image courtesy: United Airlines

After showing support for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination at United Airlines, chief executive Scott Kirby is continuing to make his case to other business leaders. At a virtual talk, the leader once again repeated the idea that before the airline could create a mandate, other companies would have to join in the movement.

United Airlines chief executive Scott Kirby is taking his argument of corporate COVID-19 vaccination to other business leaders will adopt the plan. The Chicago Tribune reports the aviation leader presented on the idea at a meeting of the Economic Club of Chicago.

Kirby Supports Corporate Vaccinations, But Won’t Take Lead with United

In previous comments to United employees, Kirby expressed his support mass COVID-19 vaccination within the airline. However, he stopped short of putting down a mandate, and instead called on other companies to join them in leadership.

Making comments on the virtual club meeting, Kirby once again reiterated his belief that mass vaccination will soon become the standard for all corporations, and employees will embrace it like wearing face masks. His message came with an appeal: join the “big second wave” of companies that will ultimately make the shot mandatory.

“I’m realistic enough, while I think it’s the right thing to do, to know United Airlines alone can’t do it and have it stick,” Kirby said, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune. “There don’t have to be a ton of others, but there have to be others.”

Previous guidance provided by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission opened the door for employers to require workers to have the shot, unless they have a disability or taking it would interfere with a sincerely-held religious belief. While Kirby noted United would try to accommodate those not taking the shot, he noted there are only a finite number of such jobs available inside the Chicago-based carrier.

Flight Attendants Pressure States to Give Them Priority Status

Although United says they do not need to consult the unions on making the vaccine mandatory, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA wants their employees to get higher priority for inoculation. The union is asking their membership to campaign state governors to include them in vaccine Tier 1b, as they are “required to perform…work in close proximity to colleagues and perform jobs onsite.”