How the Southwest Flight Cancellations Turned Right into a Bogus Vaccine Conspiracy Principle – Gizmodo

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Southwest Airlines travelers wait at the check-in counter at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 11, 2021, among widespread cancellations and delays that are definitively not about Joe Biden's vaccine policies.

Southwest Airways vacationers wait on the check-in counter at Baltimore Washington Worldwide Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 11, 2021, amongst widespread cancellations and delays which are definitively not about Joe Biden’s vaccine insurance policies.
Photograph: Kevin Dietsch (Getty Photos)

Many Republican politicians and right-wing pundits had been thrilled to report that massive disruptions at Southwest Airlines over the previous week had been as a consequence of airline employees, fed up with a forthcoming employer vaccine mandate by Presidnet Joe Biden, staging an impromptu protest by strolling off the job.

The one drawback? No such spontaneous rebellion of the silent majority has truly occurred.

Southwest Airways chief working officer Mike Van de Ven has since apologized for the delays, which started on early Friday, Oct. 8, after climate and air site visitors management points in Florida and shortly spiraled into a multitude of over 2,000 canceled flights. According to NPR, some 20% of Southwest flights on Saturday and 40% of flights on Sunday had been canceled, with numerous others experiencing prolonged delays.

Distinguished Republican politicians, together with Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, in addition to massive segments of the conservative blogosphere, shortly jumped on the chance to say airline employees had been refusing to work as a consequence of their opposition to soon-to-be-implemented federal necessities that enormous employers and federal contractors guarantee their employees are vaccinated or examined for the novel coronavirus as soon as per week. Whereas some pointed to a dispute between the airline and the Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation union, which sought in courtroom to dam the corporate from implementing vaccines as a situation of employment whereas a separate labor lawsuit played out, others didn’t hassle to again up the speculation in any respect.

These claims had been fishy for quite a few causes, foremost amongst them that there was just about no credible sourcing for the declare, regardless of the very fact anti-vaxxers by no means shut the hell up about their beliefs. Because the Washington Post explained, there was as an alternative plenty of evidence indicating the basis trigger was organizational points at Southwest. These embody obvious climate points in Florida that began a cascade of different messed-up flights and induced the airline to lose observe of when and the place it was reassigning flight crews, in addition to understaffing courtesy of decreased hiring in the course of the pandemic. Journey trade analyst and Ambiance Analysis Group president Harvey Harteveldt advised Insider that Southwest’s “very advanced spider web-like point-to-point route community” helps clarify why delays had been widespread even in areas with no climate points.

Southwest, the pilot’s union, and the Federal Aviation Administration all denied that any work stoppage was accountable, in accordance with the Put up. Slate reported that whereas the FAA did acknowledge a staffing shortfall at an air site visitors management heart in Florida, it additionally pointed to navy workouts and the dangerous climate and mentioned the unique disruption solely lasted just a few hours. (The overwhelming majority of air site visitors controllers are employed by the FAA, not airways.) The pilot’s union emphasised that Southwest had similar pilot sick rates final weekend because it did over the summer season, in addition to the airline’s unwillingness or lack of ability to replace outdated technical techniques that reassign pilots during disruptions. As Slate famous, different airways didn’t expertise such critical delays, despite the fact that the Biden mandate has resulted in backlash from workers at rivals like American Airways.

Right here’s a roundup of among the conservatives that attempted, and just about failed, to show this right into a referendum on coronavirus vaccines.

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