If you have been following the news as of late, you will no doubt have heard about Southwest Airlines getting some PR. Flights are being canceled, delayed, pushed forward, and everything in between. While Southwest says this is due to weather hazards among other things, the likely culprit may be their recent vaccine mandate. Could similar mandates in the trucking industry create a similar logistical nightmare?
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Southwest’s formal statement is that the scheduling mishaps are due to Air Traffic Control and weather issues.
Commenters have expressed dissension to this public statement. Nora Kennedy on Twitter has posted a picture in response showing the weather issues disproportionately affecting Southwest Airlines at the same airport as Delta and Frontier Airlines.
Is it safe to assume this dearth of flights is due in part to the vaccine mandate? It is possible; a survey from NPR reports that 30% of American Airline pilots are unvaccinated. If Southwest has a similar ratio, that is almost one out of every three pilots not eligible for takeoff.
Truckers Most Affected
The number on what percent of truckers who are currently vaccinated is obscured. However, with ports feeling delays even with current trucker employment, even a 1% resignation rate over the vaccines would be felt by the greater public. Trucks haul just about everything from grapefruit to furniture, and with current supply shortages the nation needs all the help it can get to get things back on track.
One other potential outcome of vaccine mandates is the trucking industry becoming more decentralized. With the mandate potentially impacting companies with one hundred or more employees, truckers may opt to leave their current employer and work for a smaller business with fewer than a dozen trucks.
Truckers were hailed as heroes of the pandemic before the vaccine was first distributed. Now, people like Joe Biden are suggesting that if companies with over 100 employees do not require vaccinations, perhaps some restructuring is in order.
The Southwest Airlines debacle proves just how much the average American citizen depends on transportation to get things done. Whether you want to use this knowledge as motivation to keep the supply chain going or use it to leverage against vaccine mandates, there is no doubt that society feels the sting when the background operators grind things to a halt.
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