October 28, 2021

Ted Cruz & Co. Promote Non-Existent Anti-Vax Airline ‘Strike’

4 min read

Republican senators and congressmen who’ve railed towards vaccine mandates rushed to reward a protest by airline employees who have been resisting getting the shot.

There’s only one slight downside: There’s no proof it truly exists.

Over the previous few days, right-wing anti-vaxxers and the likes of Sens. Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson have managed to show a sequence of in any other case boring journey delays right into a nationwide working-class protest towards Joe Biden and vaccine mandates by personal corporations that he has inspired, by way of the magic of fan fiction and the artistic use of correlation as causation.

It began this weekend when Southwest Airways canceled over 1,800 flights, stranding passengers throughout the nation. The delays, based on Southwest, have been the results of “[air traffic control issues] and disruptive climate.” In a press release issued late Monday night time, the FAA mentioned, “Not one of the data from Southwest, its pilots union, or the FAA signifies that this weekend’s cancellations have been associated to vaccine mandates.”

Different airways, nevertheless, didn’t see mass flight cancellations regardless of being uncovered to the identical climate and air visitors controllers as Southwest, elevating questions on why the airline, amongst all others, was so backed up.

Southwest, like almost all main airways, lately introduced that it could require a COVID-19 vaccine as a situation of continued employment. On Friday, the identical day that flight cancellations started, Southwest’s pilots union filed a motion in federal court docket to dam the corporate’s worker vaccine mandate which they are saying “unlawfully imposes new situations of employment.”

Within the confusion, anti-vaxxers, notably COVID conspiracy theorist Alex Berenson, stepped in to supply a solution to the airline’s issues. The delays, they claimed, have been the results of a mass however covert “sickout” of pilots protesting the corporate’s newly introduced vaccine mandate.

Nonetheless, the Southwest Airline Pilots’ Affiliation, in whose title the supposed sickout is supposedly taking place, says it “can say with confidence that our Pilots will not be taking part in any official or unofficial job actions.” As a substitute, the union said the airline “has grow to be brittle and topic to large failures beneath the slightest strain” and pointed to the mass flight delays the airline suffered over the summer time—months earlier than the corporate even introduced a vaccine mandate—after smaller technical points prompted cascading delays throughout the corporate’s operations.

And in an interview with Spectrum News on Monday, Casey Murray, the Southwest Airline Pilots Affiliation president, once more pushed again on the social media claims and mentioned that inside knowledge exhibits no enhance in sick time. “Pilot sick calls are proper consistent with what we noticed this summer time,” he mentioned.

However the denials from Southwest’s pilots union and the airline haven’t stopped Republican members of Congress from praising the unprovable vaccine protest and condemning the airline for mandating jabs.

“I stand with #Southwest Airways staff who’re combating towards these mandates,” Arizona Republican congressman Andy Biggs proudly proclaimed on Monday.

Ted Cruz hopped on the right-wing sickout meme early on Sunday because it gathered help on Twitter. “Joe Biden’s unlawful vaccine mandate at work! All of a sudden, we’re quick on pilots and air visitors controllers,” he wrote. (Cruz’s tweet appeared to counsel that federal air visitors controllers, along with Southwest staff, have been taking part within the supposed vaccine mandate—an extra declare nobody else has made.)

Spokespeople for Cruz, Johnson and Biggs didn’t return requests for remark.

Since then, right-wing pundits have wishcasted the Southwest delays right into a promised “general strike” amongst working-class transportation staff throughout the nation. Far-right social media accounts seized on Amtrak’s announcement of delays on two Amtrak shuttle trains between Springhaven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts, as proof that their hoped-for movement is spreading, regardless of the absence of any proof the delays have something to do with the rail system’s lately introduced vaccine mandates. (Amtrak didn’t reply to requests for remark from The Every day Beast in time for publication)

Fox Information star Tucker Carlson kicked off his Monday night time program by claiming he had reporting that tied the cancellations to an anti-vax sickout. After referencing the airline’s official clarification on the canceled flights, the far-right host mentioned it’s “not what occurred” and “all of that was a lie.”

“We’ve spoken to a number of individuals with direct information of what truly did occur,” he declared. “We are able to let you know the shutdown of Southwest Airways over the weekend was a direct consequence, it was a response to Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates.”

Public polling—in addition to the outcomes from different corporations which have applied mandates in current months—present little help for the anti-vaccine place on COVID photographs.

Polls present that public help for vaccine mandates has truly elevated with a minimum of 60 % of People supportive of the necessities in a recent Gallup poll.

And the Biden administration touts numbers that it says present vaccine mandates truly work in getting individuals vaccinated. In public feedback on Oct. 7, Biden mentioned that “as increasingly more organizations have applied their very own [vaccine] necessities, they’ve seen their vaccination charges rise dramatically.” As proof, Biden pointed to a drop within the variety of unvaccinated People, from 95 million right down to 67 million, after the administration introduced a federal worker vaccine mandate.

And whereas some industries—notably in law enforcement—have seen staffing issues over the vaccine mandate, airways up to now haven’t been amongst them.

United Airways, the first carrier to announce a vaccine mandate, handed its worker deadline for vaccination with 99.5 percent compliance.

Justin Baragona contributed to this report.

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