Federal judge upholds Southwest Airlines’ vaccine mandate against pilot union lawsuit

·1 min read

A federal judge in Texas denied a request from the Southwest Airlines pilots union to block the airline’s vaccine mandate.

Earlier this month, the airline announced employees are required to get vaccinated by Dec. 8 unless they receive a religious or medical exemption, in compliance with President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating vaccination for federal employees and contractors.

The Southwest Airlines Pilot Association on Oct. 8 asked a court to temporarily block the company’s vaccine mandate, according to court documents.

In the filing, the union argues the mandate violates the Railway Labor Act.

“The new vaccine mandate unlawfully imposes new conditions of employment and the new policy threatens termination of any pilot not fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021,” the document read.

The union’s request related to the vaccine mandate is the latest in its lawsuit against the company for implementing a forced time-off program and changing other working conditions without bargaining with the union.

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