Facing COVID Shot Ultimatums, Airline Workers Fight To Make Their Own Medical Choices

Facing COVID Shot Ultimatums, Airline Workers Fight To Make Their Own Medical Choices

'Much like the decision to get vaccinated or not has certain risks (outcomes), so does your decision to fight or remain silent in the face of tyranny.'
Jordan Boyd
By

Transportation employees around the nation are fighting for medical freedom as their companies cave to pressure from the Biden administration to mandate the COVID-19 shot.

Airline workers were some of the first to grapple with the decision to comply with orders from their bosses to undergo medical procedures or risk losing their jobs. Some complied but union estimates for some airlines — such as American’s pilot union — say at least three in 10 members have not obeyed these tyrannical demands despite heavy pressure.

The transportation industry as a whole still has large pockets of employees wary of the vaccine mandates wielded by their employers at the behest of the Biden administration. Several thousand of those are involved in U.S. Freedom Flyers (USFF), an organization dedicated to reaffirming the human rights of transportation employees. The group champions medical and religious exemptions and worker rights through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a potential way to fight medical tyranny.

“Our goal is to ensure that every employee who believes in freedom and believes in law keeps their job and continues to succeed in the corporation, and we hope that the company won’t take a hostile stance towards its workers,” one of the key leaders of the movement (we’ll call him Dave) told The Federalist.

Dave is a first officer for a major airline based in Dallas, Texas, and one of the many transportation employees who risks losing his job if he doesn’t comply with the COVID-19 vaccine demands from his company. He doesn’t want to leave the job, company, or city he loves, but he might not get a choice.

“We’re an extremely productive workgroup as a whole,” he said. “My airline is a case study on how to run a profitable corporation. And people love working here. And there’s a lot of very patriotic employees and very loyal employees and we all want to keep our jobs. We all want to be successful in life and we want our company to be successful. It’s a win-win situation.”

The group started as an email chain filled with workers uncomfortable with a shot mandate. In a short period, USFF grew on a global scale and is now comprised of many representatives of different airlines, has looped in employees from ground transportation companies such as Amtrak, and even inspired small offshoot groups specific to certain companies.

“Much like the decision to get vaccinated or not has certain risks (outcomes), so does your decision to fight or remain silent in the face of tyranny. This is a matter of life and liberty or death and despair,” the USFF website reads.

In August, United Airlines was one of the first airlines to force the COVID-19 shot on its employees.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart wrote in a memo. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

Thousands of pilots, flight attendants, and office staff applied for medical and religious exemptions but their requests met hostility. A handful of employees are suing United for discriminating against people with legitimate objections to the shot and forcing them to abandon their convictions or source of income. United agreed to push back the deadline for getting the shot from Sept. 27 to Oct. 15 amid the ongoing litigation, but that still leaves workers in limbo.

President Joe Biden and his administration praised United’s decision and even used it to justify his newest vaccine mandate ordering certain private companies to interfere with their employees’ highly personal choices about the medical treatments administered to their bodies.

“Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this: United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Food, and even Fox News,” Biden said in a speech.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also urged other transportation companies to follow United’s lead and force their employees to choose between getting the COVID jab or losing their jobs.

“United, as an example, obviously they implemented a vaccine mandate several weeks ago and they now have a huge increase in the number of employees who’ve been vaccinated,” Psaki said. “So what the president’s going to continue to do is lift up private sector companies and businesses that have already put in place mandates.”

Since Biden announced the Department of Labor will create a new rule forcing businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate one COVID-19 treatment among many, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue, all airline companies that had yet to require the shot, have caved and said their employees should be inoculated by Dec. 8. American Airlines also announced that “team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines.”

It’s a difficult position for the thousands of people who believe what is done to their bodies is their choice, not their employer’s, and one that seems particularly cruel following nearly two years of grueling work during a pandemic.

“The employees have all worked hard to make these companies profitable to the best of their ability through a hard time. And it’s kind of strange that now all of a sudden, especially with COVID numbers decreasing across the country, that they would be willing to put their people out in the street,” Dave told The Federalist.

Even passengers may not be immune from being required to flash a vaccine passport the next time they want to fly, after new legislation to force domestic travelers into getting the shot was introduced in the House of Representatives. Dr. Anthony Fauci supports such a mandate and the Biden administration is not too far behind him after threatening that “nothing is off the table” for COVID-19.

Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.

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