Oct 27, 2021 - Economy

Judge rejects Southwest pilots' challenge to vaccine mandate

 A Southwest Airlines airplane taxies from a gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.

A Southwest Airlines plane leaves the gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 21. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A judge ruled that Southwest Airlines can mandate its 9,000 pilots to be vaccinated against COVID-19, declining a union request for a restraining order on the policy, per AP.

Details: U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said in her ruling against the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association on Tuesday that the airline was meeting its goal on air transportation safety and "providing 'safe and reasonable working conditions' for pilots, by preventing the spread of disease" with the requirement, the Dallas Morning News noted.

The big picture: Dallas-based Southwest implemented the policy to comply with a Biden administration requirement for federal contractors that have contracts with the government, including airlines.

  • However, the airline dropped its plan to put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave if they haven't received a religious or medical exemption by the Dec. 8 federal deadline.

What's next: Southwest Airlines workers have until Nov. 24 to provide proof of vaccination or obtain an exemption.

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