According to a memo sent to employees Tuesday, Chicago-based United Airlines will soon begin the process of terminating nearly 600 employees who refused the company’s coronavirus vaccine requirement.
The memo, sent out by United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart, says that more than 99% of the company’s employees were either fully vaccinated or received a religious or medical accommodation.
While the deadline for requesting those extensions has been extended, the company will move to terminate a total of 593 employees, according to a spokesperson.
“We’ll unfortunately begin the process of separation from the airline per our policy,” the memo read. “This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority.”
The company cited increasing numbers of COVID cases and deaths as reasons for their vaccine policy, calling the treatment the “most effective way to keep our people safe.”
United is one of several large companies to implement vaccine requirements for employees. McDonald’s, Citigroup, Facebook, Ford and Uber are also among the companies that require COVID vaccines for employees.
Editorial Note: NBCUniversal, the parent company that owns NBC 5, is requiring office-based employees in the US to receive the COVID vaccine.