As the holiday season approaches, the airline industry is teetering towards chaos.
America got a small taste last weekend due to walkouts from Southwest employees and air traffic controllers.
Another disruption in the airline industry could emerge within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Around 40% of the TSA’s workforce remains unvaccinated from COVID-19 and defiant of Biden’s mandate.
For these federal employees, the deadline to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is November 22nd.
That’s right before the busiest travel period of the year.
If the TSA loses nearly half their employees right before Thanksgiving, it will create havoc at airports across the country.
The administration would fall into disarray due to severe staffing shortages.
Here’s the latest:
— The Hill (@thehill) October 14, 2021
“…4-in-10 members of its workforce, including screeners, remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 as its deadline looms.”https://t.co/7TmzXAnncQ
— The HighWire (@HighWireTalk) October 14, 2021
TSA workers need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, right before the busy Thanksgiving travel period. https://t.co/hHUhRvT84g
— WCJB TV20 News (@WCJB20) October 15, 2021
If the pilot shortage doesn’t slow down air travel, this will. 😹
Thanksgiving travel chaos looms as TSA faces vaccine mandate deadline that could force it to fire anyone unvaccinated – currently 40% of its workers – days before holiday https://t.co/1Yzt8NxBYD
— Bad Kitty For Congress 😼🌹 (@pepesgrandma) October 14, 2021
The Transportation Security Administration says 4-in-10 members of its workforce, including screeners, remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 as its deadline looms.
The deadline for civilian federal government workers to be fully vaccinated is November 22 — the Monday before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel times of the year.“We have about 60% of our workforce has been vaccinated, that that number needs to go quite a bit higher over the next few weeks,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CNN in an exclusive interview.The November 22 deadline for being fully vaccinated is still six weeks away, but the deadlines for receiving the vaccines are rapidly approaching or, in the case of the Moderna vaccine, have already passed, since an individual has to receive the full schedule of doses and wait two weeks before being considered fully vaccinated.
In a memo sent out earlier this month, the the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said federal agencies could begin enforcing the vaccine mandate beginning on Nov. 9 for employees who are still not vaccinated.
“Employees who refuse to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination are subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including removal or termination from Federal service,” OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said. “The only exception is for individuals who receive a legally required exception pursuant to established agency processes.”
But meeting the deadline is already tight. The last possible date for a TSA agent to get a Pfizer vaccine is October 18, and the last day to get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine already passed on October 11. Pfizer requires a three-week waiting period between doses, and Moderna requires a four-week waiting time.
The last possible date to get a single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine is November 8 – two weeks before the deadline.
Anyone without at least one shot could face disciplinary action as early as November 9, the Office of Personnel Management announced October 1, noting that failure to comply with the federal mandate is an act of misconduct.
The office recommended agencies begin to pursue ‘progressive discipline’ by November 9 for any employee who has not begun the vaccination process, according to Federal News Network.
‘Agencies are encouraged to consider whether lesser disciplinary penalties are adequate, as an initial matter, to encourage an employee to be vaccinated, such as a short suspension of 14 days or less,’ said an office official.
If the unvaccinated federal worker demonstrates at any point during the suspension that they are taking steps to comply with the mandate, though, the OPM says agencies should effectively pause disciplinary action and give them a deadline for receiving a final dose and providing proof of vaccination.
Once they have provided that proof, agencies should stop the disciplinary process.
But if the temporary suspension does not compel the employee to get vaccinated, the OPM recommends agencies consider greater disciplinary measures – including termination.