American Airlines employees protest outside headquarters over vaccine mandate
Hundreds of people took part in the demonstration
A group reportedly totaling hundreds of people including current and former American Airlines employees protested outside the company's Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters on Friday, over the carrier's decision to mandate that all employees get vaccinated for COVID-19 or lose their jobs.
It's not the first demonstration over the vaccination requirement at American's HQ, and organizers fear a vaccination mandate for passengers will soon be imposed, too.
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Spectrum News 1 Texas' Chris Grisby reported that there were "hundreds gathered outside" the headquarters on Friday.
"Just say no to mandates!" one protestor can be seen yelling as she walked near traffic, according to footage shared by the reporter. She also chanted, "Freedom over force!"
An organizer of the protest told KTVT-TV in an email, "We are leading the way in this fight because it doesn't end with us, passengers are next."
A crowd of hundreds also gathered outside American's Fort Worth headquarters earlier this month on Oct. 7, after the company announced its workers would face being fired if they were not fully vaccinated by Nov. 24.
American Airlines employee Terry Smith, who has been a pilot for 29 years, told The Dallas Morning News at the demonstration, "I'm gonna have to leave if that's what it comes to. I don't think I'll apply for an exemption because I don't think it will be granted."
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Most major U.S. airlines have also fallen in line with the Biden administration's vaccine mandate, sparking various protests and lawsuits from employees.
However, some airlines have started to signal a willingness to try to make accommodations for employees who aren't vaccinated by their deadlines.
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"We're not going to fire anybody who doesn't get vaccinated," Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said during an earnings call this week. "How we work through the people that don't get vaccinated or don't seek an accommodation, we're going to have to figure out and we're working with the government on that."
Earlier in the week, American Airlines' flight attendant union also told its members that leadership was "exploring accommodations that would allow employees to continue to work."