American Airlines and Southwest Defy Texas' Anti-Mandate Order but Legal Actions Underway

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

We reported previously that Texas might be throwing Southwest a lifeline by announcing a ban on the application of any vaccine mandates within the state.

However, now both American and Southwest, which are based in Texas, have announced that because of Joe Biden’s demand that all the employees of federal contractors have to be vaccinated by December 8, both airlines will be complying by continuing to mandate vaccinations for their employees, despite the order of the Texas Governor Greg Abbott. All the major airlines are federal contractors and they don’t want to lose that money. Both are requiring that employees submit proof of vaccination by November 24 — just in time to make things really difficult for the holiday season if there are more “sickouts” or people refusing to go along with it.

Despite that, Southwest employees are challenging the vaccine mandates in court and sought a temporary restraining order on Friday against the implementation of the mandate, noting that there was no conversation with the union over the implementation of the mandate. Notice Friday is also when the Southwest’s “issues” started.

In a notice, the union said that the company hadn’t had any discussion about natural immunity or the nature of possible exemptions, that they took unilateral actions, threatened possible termination and that they needed to have negotiations with the union.

American Airlines pilots have warned of a possible “staffing shortage” as well, which is why we reported they might be the next to have “issues” if they don’t work things out with their employees.

The Allied Pilots Association requested that American Airlines find “alternate means of compliance with the Executive Order be made available for professional pilots” so as not to prompt mass firings and unpaid leave following President Joe Biden’s September announcement mandating large employers to require vaccinations or weekly testing.

According to Reuters, there’s also a pending case from United Airlines. Six employees filed a class action in Texas claiming that those who were seeking exemptions from the vaccine mandate “were subjected to intrusive inquiries about their medical conditions or religious beliefs, including a requirement that they obtain letters from pastors.” That case is supposed to be heard today and the court restrained the airline from placing on unpaid leave any employee who receives religious or medical exemptions from the company for COVID-19 vaccinations. The court also put a temporary restraining order preventing United from denying any requests for religious or medical exemptions.

So we’ll have to see how it all shakes out but safe to say, prepare for possibly more “issues” coming.