Former President Trump and several right-wing Republican lawmakers claimed over the weekend that hundreds of canceled and delayed Southwest Airlines flights were opposed to the vaccine mandate because of pilots and other airline employees. But the airline, the pilots’ union and the FAA have all said that Southwest’s vaccine needs have nothing to do with this weekend’s problems.
Southwest canceled More than 2,000 flights Between Saturday and Monday, at least 1,400 other flights were delayed. Airline Accused Severe weather, a lack of air traffic control staff and a lack of hotel accommodation for employees have created a series of problems that have resulted in staff shortages on more than a quarter of southwest weekend flights. The union, which represents southwestern pilots, blamed the airline’s complex technical system, which reassigns and re-routes pilots during disruptions. “Domino effect” It forced the company to reassign more than 70 percent of its pilots over the weekend. That’s what the Southwest saw. Cancellation series In June, the airline blamed overly optimistic estimates on how quickly it could increase flights as passengers began returning in the summer.
The cancellation came just two days later this week after the Southwest Pilots Union asked a federal judge to suspend the company’s vaccine mandate. Republican lawmakers quickly seized an imaginary link without evidence, linking travel chaos to the company’s new policy and President Biden’s demand for a federal vaccine mandate.
“Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine is at work. Suddenly, we’re short on pilots and air traffic controllers,” said San Ted Cruz, R. Texas. Announcement on Twitter – while actually connecting to a. CNBC article. He described the claim as “baseless rumor” and “false”, citing an airline spokesman
Representative Lauren Boibert, R-Colo, claimed that Southwest employees “stand up for their rights as Americans.”
“You will never be able to follow your path through oppression.” He tweeted.
Representative Andy Beggs, R-Aries, said he stands with Southwest employees who are “fighting against their mandate.”
“It’s not about vaccines, it’s about freedom.” He wrote.
“Stop them” Written Representative Chip Roy, R. Texas.
Donald Trump has sought to link issues to the vaccine mandate, as well as his never-ending false claims about the 2020 election.
“I think it has a lot to do with a lot of things Radio interview this weekend. “I think he’s a big fan of your favorite president. I think he has something to do with it. I think he has something to do with it …
Donald Trump Jr. promoted the baseless claim on Twitter, claiming that employees have moved on. “Strike” On mandate
Fox News host Tucker Carlson made his baseless claims in front of his prime-time audience, saying the flight was canceled. “Direct result” Biden’s Vaccine Mandate
But there is no evidence of strikes or illness by airline employees. There is a union of pilots. Said That the pilots called the sick at the normal rate over the weekend.
Asked how much the company’s vaccine mandate contributed to the cancellation, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC. “Zero.”
Kelly said the employee’s absenteeism rate over the weekend was “very normal.”
“Understand how airlines work,” he said. “When you step back, it only takes several days to catch it.”
Southwest Airlines Pilots Association Said on saturday “Our pilots are not taking part in any government or non-government operations.”
“There are false job claims from Southwest pilots who are currently gaining traction on social media and making their way into the mainstream news. Vaccines are mandated or otherwise, “said Casey Murray, president of the union Said in a statement On Sunday, he pointed to severe weather, a shortage of staff and the company’s operating system in the southeastern United States, which he described as “massive failures under mild pressure.”
Union Said last week That it does not oppose the vaccine but sued to stop the mandate because Southwest did not consult with employees before making a decision.
Murray said. Dallas Morning News. That weekend pilot illness rate was “exactly the same as where they had been all summer with similar operational disasters.”
Upcoming Southwest CEO Bob Jordan last month. Accused The company’s months-long problems with vaccines predict staff shortages due to epidemics, when thousands of employees took purchases, took early retirement or took long-term leave.
Southwest COO Mike Van Dyke. Said in a video Employees are told that “despite the highly aggressive recruitment plan … we are still not where we want to be with the staff,” especially the pilot.
Industry experts have blamed the company’s “point-to-point route network” for making the airline more sensitive to broader issues than other airlines. Delays cause disputes at additional stops on each flight, and the airline has scheduled more flights, said Henry Hart Weldt, president of the Atmosphere Research Group. NBC News.
Mike Boyd added, “You ruined Florida, you ruined their whole network so much because it’s connected to the rest of their system. Aviation consultants at Boyd Group International.” Gone are the days, they should be in Orlando. It takes time to fix it. ”
Cruz ignored all contradictory evidence and statements from the airline, the pilots and the FAA – which also said there was no evidence that “the cancellation this weekend was related to the vaccine mandate”. Accuse the media of democratic propaganda. When his baseless claim was scrutinized on a large scale. He later claimed that he was not referring to Southwest employees, but was referring to air traffic controllers in Jacksonville, where local aviation authorities reported staffing problems over the weekend.
But The statement he posted. He explicitly denied the “rumor” that “an organized walkout by regulators at the end of Friday in response to the FAA’s order had the effect of vaccinating all employees”. Instead, he blamed staffing issues on “normal approved leave” and controllers who must stay home for 48 hours after vaccination.
“If you believe the pilots’ unions, Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate is causing a lot of cancellations (and not just SWA),” Cruz wrote.
According to the pilots’ union, almost all major airlines now require their employees to be vaccinated, as they have not faced problems such as those in the Southwest, where the problem has persisted for more than four years. Although Republicans continue to attack Biden to emphasize the need for vaccines, most voters. Support such a mandate. And the statistics show that the compliance rate is unusually high.
United Airlines is the first airline to require vaccines for its employees when its overall vaccination rate fell below 70% in August. In addition to about 300 of the company’s 67,000 employees. Vaccines are given or discounted, at a rate of more than 99.5%.
“I don’t appreciate the intensity of support for the vaccine mandate, because you hear the loud anti-vaccine voices you hear from people who want it,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United. New York Times. “But there are others. And they are just as intense.”