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3 September, 2021

UGE Changes Course

Less than a week after announcing they would not mandate employee vaccinations, United Ground Express (UGE) has changed its mind and demanded that all UGE workers would need to be vaccinated to maintain employment. UGE workers who have a medical condition or religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving a vaccine can be exempted if all necessary paperwork is submitted. 

This is quite ironic since United Airlines repeatedly states they have no control over what UGE does. I guess Scott Kirby didn’t think his marketing idea of branding United as the safest airline to fly because their employees are vaccinated all the way through. 

This is not about safety. If Kirby cared about OUR safety, he would require all customers to upload their vaccination cards before purchasing a ticket. Does anyone think that would ever happen? Me either. 

I want to be clear. I’m vaccinated. The entire District Lodge 141 Executive Board, and all our staff are vaccinated. There was no mandate. We individually and collectively believe it is the best decision for our families and the IAM members we interact with daily. We also believe that each person should be free to make their own medical decisions regarding what we put in our bodies. A corporation should not make this decision. I don’t judge anyone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated. I simply ask you to consult with your doctor before you make the decision not to get vaccinated. As you know, United Airlines management has threatened to terminate any United Airlines employees who do not get vaccinated. 

The IAM will pursue any grievance where our members were wrongfully denied an exemption and then terminated. Let me be abundantly clear. Your IAM attorneys have advised us that the Company is within its legal rights to mandate the vaccine as a condition of  employment so any grievance would be an uphill battle. Morally it’s deplorable, but welcome to Kirby Airlines.


Michael G. Klemm
President and Directing General Chair,
IAMAW District 141


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