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United CEO weighs in on Texas tenure, employee layoffs: “It’s in the rearview mirror for us”

United Airlines was the first big airline in the United States to announce a vaccination mandate for all its employees in August. Weeks later, 99.7% of its 67,000 US employees are vaccinated, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told “CBS Mornings”.

“We believe in safety. It’s the right thing to do. We all know it’s the right thing to do. Know that it will be difficult, know that not everyone will agree but we do it from the premise of just doing the right thing for safety, ”he said.

Kirby said 232 United employees who did not meet September vaccination deadline go through a “termination process”.

“I tried to be empathetic and I understand. There are a lot of people who have a different point of view on this. I tried not to argue with them about it. We are not going to win. the arguments about it with people. Really say that my responsibility is to try to do what’s right for United Airlines and what I think is safe, “Kirby said. “I respect that you have a different opinion. But now you have to decide whether you want to get the shot and stay at United or not.”

The timing has worked to the advantage of United Airlines, Kirby said, so the company won’t have to worry about complying with an executive order of Texas. Greg Abbott which prohibited “any entity” of the State from applying a vaccination mandate. One of United’s largest hubs is in Houston.

“There are going to be a lot of companies that have to figure out what the difference is between an executive order or for the president there is a gap there. United, it really doesn’t make much of a difference because we have the 99.7%, ”Kirby said. “Because it’s in the rearview mirror for us, we don’t have to be so focused on, ‘What does this really mean, in the short term? “- because we have already vaccinated everyone.”

Southwest and American Airlines have announced they will comply with President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate over Abbott’s order.