A United Airlines Captain on unpaid leave for failing to comply with her company’s vaccine mandate says she can no longer access her 401(k) and is prohibited from finding another job.
“I am on unpaid leave. I am prohibited from getting another job. I am prohibited from accessing my 401(k). I have no medical benefits and I am in charge of this battle, so my days are spent”, United pilot Sherry Walker, co-founder of Aviation personnel 4 Health freedom, told the Daily Signal while attending the “Defeat the Mandates” march in Washington, DC, on Sunday.
Walker told Fox Digital on Monday that she is considered an “active employee” after being put on unpaid leave for failing to meet the airline’s vaccine mandate in November.
“That means they can call us back at any time with two weeks’ notice, they can just grab us and pull out. But because we’re active, we haven’t undergone a qualified lifestyle change. So Schwab, who owns our 401( k) accounts, refuse to allow anyone access,” Walker told Fox.
US judge CONFIRMS UNITED AIRLINES’ COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATE FOR EMPLOYEES
Walker added that workers in similar shoes are banned from finding other jobs because United has been cracking down on non-competitors.
“In this case they said no, not outside employment. Basically you have to go through ethics and compliance, and it can’t be a company that we can… have a non-competitiveness with.”
But if Walker were to get another job with an airline, she wouldn’t be able to move sideways as a captain because the airline industry has a seniority-based system.
“You start at the bottom. I can’t be a captain on any other airline in this country. I’m going back from my six-figure salary, back to the beginning of a probationary wage… pulling stuff for some captain,” she said.
United Airlines told Fox News Digital on Monday that there are “non-customer-facing positions” for employees who fail to adhere to the mandate, adding that such employees “can apply and continue to work until it is safe for them to… return to their current functions.”
UNITED AIRLINES EMPLOYEES AGAINST TREATMENT CEO OF VACCINE MANDATE IN NEW LETTER
United Airlines added that “we have nothing further to say about this” when it pushed for details about employees who were no longer able to access their 401(k) subscriptions.
A Schwab spokesperson said he was not aware of plan participants who do not have access and instructed them to call Schwab Retirement Plan Services.
“Schwab Retirement Plan Services administers workplace retirement plans at the direction and discretion of the employers who select us, and according to the rules of each retirement plan,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company does not disclose specific information about plans and customers.
Walker, who has been flying since she was 18 and has worked in the industry since 1998, is leading the fight against vaccine mandates among airline personnel, including a legal battle.
“While we believe that our employer has the right to have a mandate, they are required under Title VII to give us reasonable accommodations. And we are currently fighting in the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans for a ruling. We will have to wait and see if we succeed in a preliminary injunction or if we continue with the unreasonable accommodation of indefinite unpaid leave,” she told the Daily Signal on Sunday.
UNITED AIRLINES VACCINE MANDATE LEADS TO COURT OF PILOT POSTED ON UNPAID LEAVE: REPORT
Walker said her personal decision not to get the vaccine came down to her faith, but added that if Americans don’t draw a line with vaccines, freedom over personal health choices could be further diminished in the future.
“Now it’s just a shot in the arm,” Walker said, a hypothetical given of what might happen in a few years if she were potentially diagnosed with a disease like breast cancer.
“Five or six years if I get breast cancer, right? And my doctor says Sherry, [there’s cancer]It might take a little while with some radiation, but we’ll get you back,” she said. “Okay, what happens when my employer says, ‘No, no, we want you to fly ASAP. Go for a double mastectomy and go back to work in six weeks.”
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT FOX BUSINESS
She said that if she refused such a request, her employer could hit back that “you gave you physical autonomy years ago. You don’t have to say that anymore.”