United Airlines said it would require its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by this fall, joining dozens of other major corporations mandating a similar policy amid the surge in Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” said CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart in the letter to their employees Friday. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

With Friday’s news, United Airlines, which has over 60,000 workers in the United States, would become the first major airline in the U.S. to mandate vaccination for workers. 

The memo from the CEO and the President has also added that employees who have already received their shots or will be getting shots by September 20 will be granted an extra day of pay.

Following the letter released by the leaders, the Air Line Pilots Association said in a note to its members that although a “small number of pilots” disagree with the new policy, the general consensus of the union is for the new mandate. 

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that federal law does not ban private businesses or public agencies from requiring its workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“In light of these developments, you have asked whether the ‘option to accept or refuse’ condition in section 564 prohibits entities from imposing such vaccination requirements while the only available vaccines for COVID-19 remain subject to EUAs. We conclude, consistent with FDA’s interpretation, that it does not. This language in section 564 specifies only that certain information be provided to potential vaccine recipients and does not prohibit entities from imposing vaccination requirements,” the memorandum opinion issued by the Justice Department reads.

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