Monday, October 18, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Update #2
APFA Flight Attendants,
On October 1, 2021, American Airlines announced that it was subject to Executive Order 14042 (Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors). Management made it clear that all employees need to be vaccinated to remain employed with American Airlines. On October 6, 2021, management announced a deadline of November 24, 2021, for employees to complete their vaccination shot regimen, consistent with the deadline for full vaccination contained in the Executive Order.
APFA continues to receive questions regarding the federal vaccine mandate. Employees who cannot be vaccinated due to a qualified disability or sincerely held religious belief may request a reasonable accommodation. At a meeting with management and labor leaders on Thursday afternoon, October 14, management addressed the issue of reasonable accommodations and indicated that they are exploring all possible options concerning accommodations for those who are eligible. Management indicated that, unlike the approach taken by United, they were exploring accommodations that would allow employees to continue to work. They failed to offer any specifics as to what such accommodations might look like at that time. However, management committed to complying with their legal obligations to review and consider each accommodation request on a case-by-case basis and to offer reasonable accommodations where appropriate.
For those Flight Attendants requesting an accommodation, APFA will make sure management abides by the letter of the law where the Executive Order and reasonable accommodations are concerned. By law, the accommodations process, including requests, review, and administration, will be directly between management and the Flight Attendant requesting accommodation. APFA cannot negotiate to provide for particular accommodations or ensure that a Flight Attendant is granted an accommodation.
For those Flight Attendants who remain unvaccinated and do not receive an accommodation, you will not be automatically removed from service or terminated from employment on the deadline for compliance. Our Contract provides for a process that must be followed before anyone can be terminated.
APFA also hears the concerns from vaccinated Flight Attendants regarding the potential for contractual seniority violations if Flight Attendants are permitted to remain unvaccinated. APFA continues to discuss this issue with American.
Management has failed to communicate a detailed plan regarding the vaccine mandate. It is no surprise that the vaccine mandate was coming, and the November 24th deadline is approaching quickly. There is no time for APFA and other Unions at American to continue speculating on this important issue. We all need answers from management, and we need them now.
If you have questions about the federal vaccine mandate, please call 817-540-0108, extension 8103, or email [email protected].