After the decision of the governor of Texas to refuse the vaccination obligation in his state, some companies decided to ignore this measure to comply with federal law.
American and Southwest Airlines indicated on October 12 that they were going a priori Comply with the federal law decided by Joe Biden imposing the vaccine on their employees and thus defy a new Texan legislation opposing the vaccination obligation.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced on October 11 that he was banning all entities in his state, including private companies, from forcing the vaccine to their employees or consumers.
Federal law prevails over state law
But “the federal law prevails over the law of the federated states”, recalled the spokesperson of the White House, Jen Psaki.
However, the American president, after having refused for a long time to take binding decisions, announced a month ago that vaccination against Covid-19 would become compulsory for some 100 million workers, civil servants, employees of federal government subcontractors and companies with more than 100 people.
American Airlines and Southwest Airlines refuse to follow Texas decision
Rules have yet to be set for all of these categories, but as contractors to the federal government, airlines are expected to impose vaccination on their employees from December 8.
Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines said on October 12 that they would instead follow federal law.
“We are in the process of reviewing the executive order issued by Governor Abbott, but we believe the federal vaccine mandate takes precedence over all state laws, and that does not change anything for American,” a spokesperson explained. of American Airlines in a message to AFP.
Southwest emphasizes for its part that to comply with the rules applying to government contractors, it must “comply with the presidential decree.”
“We will continue to closely monitor all instructions given and will keep our employees informed of any potential changes to existing policies,” the company said in a message.
However, the Biden administration has still not published the rules that will frame the practical application of this obligation in the other private companies concerned.
“There is not really any historical precedent for (this vaccine obligation in companies) and we want to do well”, justified the spokesperson for the White House, when asked about this implementation deadline.
Jen Psaki also considered that the decision of the governor of Texas was above all “political”. “When you make a choice that goes against existing public health information and data, which is not based on the interests of the people of whom you are the governor, then it may be in your own political interest,” she criticized.
The announcement of the vaccine requirement sparked an outcry among Republicans, who see it as a violation of individual freedoms.