CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thanksgiving travel is taking off as Charlotte city leaders discuss how to handle the federal vaccine mandate for City of Charlotte airport employees.
According to an update at Monday’s Charlotte City Council meeting, all City of Charlotte employees who are federal contractors will have to submit proof of vaccination by the week of Jan. 18. At this time, that includes all city employees who hold an airport Secured Identification Display Area (SIDA) badge, according to a presentation at the meeting.
Officials said there are roughly 20,000 to 25,000 employees at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with about 1,000 of those being City of Charlotte employees. According to the presentation to City Council, about 200 of the 1,000 City of Charlotte employees at the airport are unvaccinated.
According to city leaders, weekly testing is not an option for this group of people who fall under the rules of the federal employee vaccine mandate.
“Just to make sure I’m hearing this right-- as of Jan. 15, if you are a City of Charlotte employee that falls in this bucket, even if you are willing to get tested every week, you will be terminated from your current job?” Tariq Bokhari, Charlotte City Councilmember representing District 6, asked.
“I think we need to be pushing back on these mandates,” Bokhari said. “Not rolling over and just accepting them.”
Dimple Ajmera, Charlotte City Councilmember At Large, went on the record in response saying, “There is a reason why the federal government is mandating it. This is about the safety of our employees. This is about the safety of all our residents, so I will not support any pushback.”
City leaders said there are religious or medical exemptions allowed with the federal vaccine mandate.
City officials said they will also look at possibly re-assigning people whose positions are transferable on a case-by-case basis.
A TSA spokesperson tweeted Tuesday that approximately 93% of TSA employees are in compliance with the deadline for the federal employee vaccine mandate and exemption requirements. The employee vaccine mandate will not impact holiday travel.
Editor's Note: The deadline for City of Charlotte employees who are federal contractors to submit proof of vaccination was updated in this article to reflect the week of Jan. 18. It previously incorrectly stated the timeframe as the week of Jan. 15.
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