Southwest and American Airlines, both based in Texas, reportedly plan to continue requiring the vaccine for their employees despite Governor Greg Abbott’s new vaccine ban this week.
Violators of Monday’s governor’s decree that affects private businesses and which he says prevents Texans from “losing their livelihoods,” could face fines, according to the Washington Post. The vaccine “must always be voluntary for Texans,” Abbott said in the order.
But President Biden also issued a conflicting federal mandate that will come into effect soon, requiring companies with more than 100 employees and all federal employees and contractors to have their employees vaccinated or undergo testing.
America and the Southwest have tens of thousands of employees, the Post reported.
“I’ve never been in favor of corporations imposing this kind of mandate,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC on Tuesday. “But President Biden’s executive order requires that all federal employees, and then all federal contractors that cover all the major airlines, must have a mandatory vaccine in place by December 8, so we’re working on it. ”
GOVERNOR OF TEXAS GREG ABBOTT PROHIBITS “ANY ENTITY” FROM EXECUTING A COVID-19 VACCINE WARRANT
American has also agreed to follow Biden’s tenure rather than the governor’s.
“We believe that the federal vaccine mandate supersedes all laws in conflicting states, and that doesn’t change anything for American,” an American spokesperson said, according to The New York Times.
Companies complying with Abbott and not Biden should also turn down federal contractors and could lose federal funding, the Texas Tribune reported.
Abbott said Biden’s order “left employers with an unfair choice to break federal regulations or lose their valuable employees” and said his order could be enforced by state and local law enforcement, according to the Times.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday accused Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who issued a similar order, of “putting politics ahead of public health.”
“We will continue to enforce the law, which the President of the United States has the ability … the legal authority to do,” she added.