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Texas judge rules in favor of Southwest Airline's vaccine mandate

Texas judge rules in favor of Southwest Airline's vaccine mandate
A Texas judge ruled against an injunction filed by Southwest Airlines Pilots Association to temporarily block the vaccine mandate. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A federal judge sided with Southwest Airlines as it plans to mandate that its employees be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, a requirement that is in line with the federal vaccine mandate.

Texas District Judge Barbara Lynn dismissed the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association request for an injunction against the looming mandate. The Biden administration announced that all federal workers and government contractors be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8. Biden also directed the Department of Labor to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to require workers to get vaccinated or be tested weekly.

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SWAPA sought exemptions from the mandate, arguing that the vaccine could have side effects that could end a pilot's career. When their plea for an exemption failed, the union filed an injunction in a Dallas federal court to temporarily block the mandate.

At the same time, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned vaccine mandates for private businesses. Despite the decree, Southwest Airlines said it would comply with the federal mandate and require its employees to get vaccinated by the given deadline.

Lynn said the injunction was "premature" and said that since the airline is a federal contractor, its mandate is required by law. She supported the vaccination requirement, stating that it would improve the safety of air travel and safe working conditions for pilots.

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The airline canceled thousands of flights last month, citing air traffic control issues and disruptive weather. It reported a loss of $75 million over the fiasco.

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