Federal judge rejects Southwest Airlines pilots’ request to block vaccine mandate

A Southwest Airways jet sits at a gate at Orlando Worldwide Airport in Orlando, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2021.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

A federal choose in Texas denied Southwest Airlines pilots union’s request to quickly block a vaccine mandate for workers, which is a requirement underneath new authorities guidelines.

Dallas-based Southwest Airways should require workers to be absolutely vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19 by Dec. 8 until they obtain a spiritual or medical exemption, in keeping with guidelines for federal contractors that the Biden administration issued final month.

Southwest and different main airways like Delta, United and American fly federal staff, U.S. mail and supply different providers to the federal government.

The Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation, which represents some 9,000 aviators, sought a short lived restraining order in opposition to the mandate. The union had argued that the mandate, in addition to different Covid-related firm insurance policies, wanted to be negotiated with the union.

“Requiring Southwest staff to be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 will likewise enhance the security of air transportation, effectivity of Southwest’s operations, and additional the [collective bargaining agreement’s] aim of secure and cheap working situations for pilots,” U.S. District Choose Barbara Lynn wrote in her Tuesday ruling, denying the union’s restraining order request and dismissing the case.

The labor union mentioned it’s upset within the ruling and “we’re presently contemplating subsequent steps.”

It wasn’t the one dispute over airways’ vaccine mandates. United Airways is preventing a lawsuit in U.S. District Courtroom in Fort Price introduced by six staff who alleged they have been unfairly denied exemptions to the mandate. The choose quickly blocked United’s plan to place workers with exemptions on unpaid go away.

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