Southwest Airlines will follow Biden’s mandate requiring that employees be vaccinated, defying an order from the Texas Governor;
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The decision set up an immediate challenge to Republican Governor Greg Abbott by one of Texas’s major corporations.
- Southwest, with about 54,500 staff at the end of June, is among several companies caught between Abbott’s decree and a White House measure that says federal contractors must require the shots.
- According to the president’s executive order, federal action supersedes any state mandate or law, and we would be expected to comply with the president’s order to remain compliant as a federal contractor,” the Dallas-based airline said Tuesday in an emailed statement.
- The response to Abbott’s order came a day after the vaccine issue surfaced as Southwest worked to get operations back on track after canceling 3,100 flights over four days.
- As customer outrage grew over long waits, some politicians linked the disruptions to employee objections to the required shots. Southwest executives and its pilots union denied that work slowdowns or sickouts were responsible.
- The company, like most U.S. airlines, has government contracts for transporting employees and goods. Southwest, which carries the most domestic passengers of U.S. carriers, set a Dec. 8 deadline for workers to be fully vaccinated or face possible job loss.