American Airlines, Spirit AeroSystems to meet Biden Dec. 8 vaccine deadline

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -American Airlines and aircraft parts manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems said on Wednesday they would meet a deadline set by U.S. President Joe Biden to require vaccines for its employees by a Dec. 8 deadline for government contractors.

The White House announced the Dec. 8 deadline for employees of federal contractors last month and the requirements are expected to cover millions of employees.

American Airlines, the largest U.S. carrier, told its 100,000 U.S.-based employees they "must submit proof of full vaccination as soon as possible - no later than Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021... To be clear, if you fail to comply with the requirement, the result will be termination from the company."

Wichita, Kansas-based Spirit said the mandate would cover its 10,500 U.S. employees."As a federal contractor, testing is not an option for Spirit employees," the company said.

Last month, Raytheon also said it would require all U.S. employees to be vaccinated, while Southwest Airlines, which also has significant federal contracts, said Monday it would require its U.S. employees to be vaccinated by Dec. 8.

Some airline officials had asked the White House to push back the requirements, signed by Biden last month, until after the busy holiday travel season.

The White House is adding clauses to future government contracts mandating inoculations.

Steve Cave, a King & Spalding attorney who specializes in government contracts, told Reuters last month he expects the order will impact tens of millions of U.S. workers or more.

"The tentacles are far reaching," Cave said. "The number touched by this will be huge. It's probably in the upper tens of millions."

The Labor Department separately plans to issue an emergency temporary standard requiring employers with more than 100 workers to have them inoculated or tested weekly - a policy expected to cover more than 80 million workers.

(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Chris Reese, Marguerita Choy and Gerry Doyle)

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