Sickouts. Better get used to this Anglo-Saxon term, in view of October 15 and the entry into force of the mandatory green pass in the workplace. What it is, it is easy to say: absences due to mass illness. Both to avoid incurring the wage penalties provided for the unvaccinated, and to create damage to the company and thus hope to push it to milder mediation advice.
And the use of English terminology is not a habit to avoid slightly Fantozzian formulas such as medical absenteeism, but because the strong doubt that one of the most unionized categories of all has implemented this type of protest against compulsory vaccination comes from the States. United. In the four days that ended yesterday, Southwest Airlines, the first low-cost airline in the United States, had to cancel something like 3,100 flights (1,000 only on Sunday) due to collective absences between pilots, on-board personnel and on the ground. This image speaks clearly,
Number of cancellations in US air traffic (11 October 2021)
Fonte: Federal Aviation Administration
relative to yesterday: 356 cancellations, 23% of the total of all air traffic that day.
Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, denied that the incident was attributable to any kind of organized protest. offloading the responsibilities onto the company which would take on only half of the 5,500 workers announced by the end of the year: Our pilots and crews are tired and frustrated but the statutory mandate of our union prohibits taking similar actions or even just litigation on matters such as those of the vaccination mandate. Certainly, all true. One fact remains: Southwest Airlines has set December 8 as a deadline for all staff, deadline beyond which those who have not complied with the vaccination obligation risk immediate dismissal.
And to throw some more seeds of doubt, the strange geographical coincidence that took place this afternoon thought about it: the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has in fact issued an executive order banning the obligation to vaccinate in the state, for both public and private employees. The vaccine is safe and effective, it is saving many lives but it must remain a voluntary and individual choice, never forced or forced, he has declared. Oddly, Southwest Airlines’ headquarters are located in Dallas. By return of post, the airline’s CeO, Gary Kelly, confirmed to the cnbc that it will ignore the new state directive and stick to the federal White House directive. Translated, open confrontation. With local politics apparently (and in an interested way) sided in favor of the ghost strikers.
And Rabobank also thought about the risk of mass epidemics among unvaccinated workers, so much so that its leading analyst, Michael Every, today dedicated his very popular daily newsletter to the topic. The title is a whole program and speaks for itself: The market might soon start worrying how contagious «sickouts» might prove to be. Translated, the market may soon begin to worry about how contagious sickouts might prove. His main concern? Think about what could happen if mass absences of personnel hit infrastructures such as ports, terminals, trains or road freight, already heavily affected by supply chain bottlenecks.
In short, although the management of Southwest Airlines has tried to reassure the passengers, talking about criticalities linked to atmospheric conditions and the union denies latent boycotts, the move by the governor of Texas risks opening a dangerous path. After so many months hanging from Professor Fauci’s lips, perhaps in Rome they would do well to carefully follow what is happening overseas in this. Because time is running out. And the risks look decidedly to the upside. Sickouts, a word that could turn into the new spread.