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CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — The labor union representing Canadian airline WestJet’s pilots on Monday instructed them not to comply with the company’s recently announced vaccine mandate.

“We do NOT agree with these heavy-handed tactics when the company so clearly has many other reasonable options available for it to achieve its objectives,” reads the internal memo obtained by the Western Standard.

The memo, which was sent to pilots by the Master Executive Council (MEC), the labor group that advocates for the pilots’ interests, came in response to WestJet’s September 8 statement announcing a vaccination mandate for all employees.

“Employees who fail to attest their vaccination status by September 24 or achieve full vaccination status by October 30, 2021, will face unpaid leave or termination of employment. As part of its vaccine mandate, the airline will not provide testing as an alternative to vaccination,” stated WestJet.

The MEC memo responded with a call-to-action for all pilots in the organization.

“Therefore, there is complete agreement within the MEC that pilots should NOT disclose their vaccination status until there is an agreement between WestJet management and the Association outlining the parameters for doing so via a negotiated LOU (Letter of Understanding),” stated the MEC.

A LOU is a legally binding document that allows employers and employees to negotiate terms and reach an agreement. It must be signed by all parties before changes to employment conditions can be implemented.

A senior pilot for WestJet told the Western Standard that he was shocked by the “aggressive” nature of his employer’s mandate.

According to the pilot, half of the company’s 2,200 pilots are opposed to mandatory vaccinations, with many expressing that not only are the risks of a pilot spreading COVID-19 to customers minimal, but that the potential risks of receiving the shot pose a safety hazard to flying.

“One the side effects, myocarditis, [causes] a swelling of the heart and an irregular heartbeat, which could cost a pilot his licence,” he said.

Some of the conditions that bar an individual’s ability to receive a pilot’s license are high or low blood pressure, an overly muscular build, chronic autoimmune conditions, and any history of hearing, vision, or mental health complications.

The experimental injections, which will not complete clinical trials until 2023, pose a myriad of health risks for recipients, including but not limited to blood clots, autoimmune diseases, heart inflammation conditions, and neurological complications, all of which would be grounds for revoking a pilot’s license on the basis that he or she cannot reliably fly a plane in a safe manner.

“Protecting the health and safety of our guests and employees remains our number one priority and vaccinations are our best line of defense,” claimed Mark Porter, a WestJet executive, in a release about the mandate.

In response to this logic, the senior pilot said, “The chances of getting COVID on a plane is extremely low. Plus, the pilots are in a locked cockpit with no interaction.”

WestJet’s current policies require all people boarding one of their flights to test negative for COVID-19 and wear a mask at all times. With those measures in place, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that an isolated pilot, who has tested negative for COVID-19, would pose a particular risk to the safety of passengers.

LifeSite reached out to WestJet for comment, but has not received a reply at the time of publication.