As a result of employee uprisings against tyrannical vaccine mandates, Southwest Airlines cancelled a plan on Tuesday that would have put unvaccinated staff members who have applied for medical and religious exemptions on unpaid leave starting in December.
Southwest will not withhold payment from unvaccinated employees who have applied for, but have not yet been approved or denied, religious or medical exemption.
“If an accommodation has not been reviewed or approved by December 8, the Employee will continue to work, while following all COVID mask and distancing guidelines applicable to their position, until the accommodation has been processed,” an unnamed Southwest spokesperson told CBS News.
“While we intend to grant all valid requests for medical and/or religious accommodations, in the event a request is not granted, the Company will provide adequate time for an Employee to become fully vaccinated while continuing to work and adhering to safety protocols,” they continued.
Southwest employees have until Nov. 24 to receive a Covid-19 vaccination or apply for a religious or medical exemption. In a reversal from the company’s previous stance, staff will receive payment while the company reviews their requests. And those rejected from exemption will be permitted to continue working while the airline negotiates fair accommodations for them.
This comes after Southwest issued a statement on Oct. 4 telling staff members that they would be required to receive the Covid-19 vaccination in accordance with the Biden administration’s plan to require companies with federal contracts to vaccinate staff or face harsh fines and punishments.
Hundreds of Southwest pilots and flight attendants held a protest outside the airline’s headquarters in Dallas on Monday, Oct. 18 over the company’s vaccine mandates. Just one day later, the airline reversed its policy.
RSBN’s Brian Glenn interviewed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who showed up to the protest.
“I think its important for people to stand up right now, or the federal government is going to be dictating these types of things beyond even what they’re doing now,” said Paxton.
Paxton continued, “While they’re ignoring the border, people are crossing the border with no vaccines, they’re spreading them all over the country with Covid, and yet—they’re willing to push employers like Southwest Airlines to fire their employees.”
Rewatch RSBN’s stream of the Southwest employee protest on Rumble.
Southwest Vice President Julie Weber and Chief People Officer Steve Goldberg told staff that if their exemption is denied, employees can reapply if they have “new information or circumstances” that they would like the airline to consider.
While there are concerns surrounding what the airline will reject or approve as valid justification for exemptions, Southwest’s Tuesday decision is certainly a positive step forward in the fight for medical freedom.