‘Baby Steps’ Following Rally Outside Headquarters, Southwest Airlines Revises Plans to Put Unvaccinated Employees on Unpaid Leave

We reported yesterday that many employees, as well as other airline workers and many more, gathered outside of the Southwest Airlines headquarters in Dallas, Texas for a rally to protest vaccine mandates.

It was now reported today that the company is revising its plans to put unvaccinated workers that are still waiting to be approved for a medical or religious exemption on unpaid leave starting in December.  

Employees will be able to continue working, even if their accommodations weren’t reviewed or approved by the Dec. 8 deadline.

The carrier said it still intends to grant “valid” requests for medical or religious exemptions and in the case that a request is not granted, Southwest told employees that it “will provide adequate time for an employee to become fully vaccinated while continuing to work and adhering to safety protocols.”

Ultimately, it is not a total victory for those who are against the vaccine mandates but as U.S. House Rep Chip Roy (R-TX) described the move as “baby steps.”

“Ok, ⁦⁦@SouthwestAir⁩, we’re listening. This is a good step. But they should be able to work. Baby steps. #DoNotComply#HealthcareFreedom,” Roy said in a tweet.

Other news media outlets have been stating in their title that the plans were scrapped or dropped, but the bulk of the article does not describe that as being the case.

Last Thursday, the company issued an apology for the situation and said in a tweet, “There’s a lot to say about what happened over the last several days, but we’ll start with the most important message: we’re sorry.”

“Cancelling thousands of flights & displacing Customers isn’t what we want for you, nor is it what you should expect from us,” the company added.