• EXCLUSIVE: United Airlines Technician Kevin Campbell Lost His Job Over Mandated Covid-19 Vaccinations And Wrote His Own Story Before He Died

    December 4, 2023

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    Kevin Campbell, who was a United Airlines' ground crew technician for 37 years, recently passed away. 

    United Airlines' CEO Scott Kirby and the airline's management team decided in August 2021 to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for their employees, but not all of them. 

    The Covid-19 vaccinations were mandated for United Airlines’ employees only based in the U.S. They were not mandated for employees based overseas or for United Airlines’ passengers.

    Campbell, along with other United Airlines' colleagues, filed for religious exemptions in late 2021.

    Campbell subsequently lost his job. 

    Later, he and 27 other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against United Airlines, management, and every board member personally. 

    CDM interviewed Kevin Campbell in early 2023. That interview can be watched here

    Recently, his former colleagues paid tribute to Kevin Campbell after his death. 

    But, Kevin Campbell also left behind his story in his own words exclusively for publication in CDM so the world will know what happened to him as a result of United Airlines' Covid-19 mandated policy, and how it affected his life. 

    Kevin Campbell -  In His Own Words

    “During the process of asking for a religious exemption United RAP process threatened to terminate my employment 3 different times while not approving the exemption, after this they approved my religious exemption request which not only included no vaccine but no testing and no discrimination. 

    Here is an excerpt of my letter to United for exemption that they approved, “My request for accommodation is that I do not consent to getting a covid vaccine and taking a covid test. I seek to participate normally in all duties, responsibilities, activities and events without any form of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, separation or segregation.” 

    After my reasonable accommodation was approved, 5 days later they sent a company email stating I had to be covid tested 2 times per week even when on days off, vacation or out sick, along with having to wear a N95 mask which is not made to wear continuous and different from being required with the rest of the employees. This is against what United Airlines approved for my reasonable accommodation. 

    After being told I have to test, along with wearing an N95 mask in their email I was terminated for not complying with their mandate. I explained to them in a fact finding investigation with the Teamsters Union that they approved my exemption to vaccination, testing and discrimination but they chose to go against my approval and terminate me. I was also denied the second warning before termination proceedings. 

    During the process of being held out of service and being terminated it was very demeaning and embarrassing being walked out in front of my friends and coworkers like I was a criminal. I still lose sleep at night because of this betrayal. Now I have no insurance and my disabled son is in the hospital with pneumonia and I cannot afford to go to see him during his time of need. I also am being forced to use what little lump sum pension I have to live day to day and cannot send any monetary support for my severely disabled son that I have done for over 20 years or pay for insurance premiums for him or myself. I have been a loyal employee for 37 years and considered myself a valued asset to the company. Ever since I applied for a religious exemption on Aug 31, 2021, I have been treated like I am a criminal and have been told anyone who does not get vaccinated should die. 

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    Timeline of harms: 

    I applied for religious reasonable accommodation August 31, 2021. 

    I was approved for the religious RAP Oct 7, 2021 after being denied and threatened with termination with 3 different termination dates. Then Terminated Nov 17, 2021. 

    My original letter of requesting a RAP not only included vaccine mandate but also, I included not being tested and to operate in normal activity with no discrimination

    “My request for accommodation is that I do not consent to getting a covid vaccine and taking a covid test. I seek to participate normally in all duties, responsibilities, activities and events without any form of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, separation or segregation.” 

    After my reasonable accommodation was approved, 5 days later Oct 12th they sent a company email stating I had to be covid tested 2 times per week even when on days off, vacation or out sick. Along with having to wear a N95 mask which is not made to wear continuous and different from being required with the rest of the employees. This is against what United Airlines approved for my reasonable accommodation. 

    Friday Oct 22, I was given a notice by company email about myself not getting the covid test and will be given a second notice before any action will be taken. I was not given the second warning. Oct 27, 2021 On my first day back from days off I was threatened to be terminated. 

    Oct 27, 2021 Los Angeles Aircraft Maintenance Manager brought me in his office and asked if I would get tested and wear their required mask, I said no because my accommodation says I do now have to. He was going to fire me so I got my union rep involved and we had an investigation that day. I showed them my reasonable accommodation letter stating I did not have to be tested, etc. which was accepted by United Airlines. They decided to hold me out of service with pay that day pending the company and union investigation for not being covid tested twice a week and not wearing a n95 mask, which marks me as someone who is different and opens me up to discrimination and harassment. They made me clean out my locker, took my badge and walked me out of the property. 

    November 12, 2021 at home I was on conference call with United management and Union rep, I was asked if I would get tested and wear their mask. I said no on account of it would be against my reasonable accommodation. They said I would be terminated as of November 13th 2021 for not complying with their request. 

    Later I receive a letter from United Airlines management stating my official termination date is November 17, 2021.

    The union said they would fight and request a hearing to get my job back. I later received a letter from the union stating they will not move forward for they feel I do not have a case. 

    Issues I went through during the process of getting approval of my accommodation and after being terminated.

    Loss of Retirement, Loss of 37 years of Seniority, Travel Benefits, 7 Weeks Vacation Accrual, Medical Benefits, Inability to care for chronic conditions of family members, Not able to pay child support, Physical and Emotional Distress, Depression, Despair, Loss of enjoyment of life, Mental anguish, Hopelessness, Spouse and Family Stress, Sleep Deprivation, Bullying from coworkers, Hostile Work Environment. 

    This has been very stressful, demeaning, has made me sad and depressed not knowing what is going to happen with my employment. Everyone involved in my process has not communicated in a fair way when I have given all my time every day to make sure I was communicating correctly. 

    How will I support my disabled daughter who lives with me? Also Lost my medical insurance for myself and my disable son who requires constant 24 hour medical care in Denver, Colorado. 

    My son was in the hospital in Denver with pneumonia fighting for his life Dec 25th 2021 to June of 2022. After being home and still fighting his illness he passed away September 29th 2022. Being I had no flight benefits and not enough money to travel I only got to see him once during this time and could not be there when he passed. Now with no life insurance to pay for his funeral expenses. 

    I now ran out of money to live and looking for a job with no vaccine requirements at the age of 60 which is not easy to do. This has added tremendous stress wondering how I am going to make ends meet while finding another income source. It has created a lot of sleepless nights and depressed days. 

    This created a hostile work environment while I was trying to get approved for the accommodation, I have over heard people talk at work about how people that are not vaccinated should die because they are causing them to die. It is not uncommon for heated discussions and arguments over this mandate and has created a division and enemies of fellow employees who were once longtime friends. Now when I walked past a fellow employee of any work group, I sensed a tense atmosphere where I never knew how the employees view point would affect my work day. 

    I have also noticed a lot of mistakes being made in aircraft maintenance for not only those going through this process, but those who have taken the vaccine under duress of losing their job. 

    United Airlines managers at my work place briefings have been heard to say United Airlines will never accommodate the vaccine reasonable accommodation participants and will be terminated, and even those approved will eventually be let go. I personally have heard this myself.”

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    Author

    Christine Dolan

    Christine Dolan is a seasoned Investigative Journalist, television producer, author, and photographer. She is Co-Founder of American Conversations whose format focuses on in-depth analysis of critical issues about “the story behind the headlines.”
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