Fact Check: 'Leaked' Airline Documents Do NOT Reveal Horrific Details About Vaccinated Pilots

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: 'Leaked' Airline Documents Do NOT Reveal Horrific Details About Vaccinated Pilots Union Brief

Do "leaked" airline documents reveal horrific details about vaccinated pilots? No, that's not true: The so-called leaked documents consist entirely of an informational brief from United Master Executive Council, a pilots' union. The memo to members provides background on negotiations with United management as they relate to the question of COVID-19 vaccination. It's a detailed and reasoned document that does not include the extraordinary claims attributed to it in an article.

The article (archived here), written by the "Stew Peters Show," was published by Red Voice Media on June 21, 2021. Titled "Leaked Airline Documents Reveal HORRIFIC Details About 'Vaccinated' Pilots," the article opened:

Internal documents obtained by Dr. Jane Ruby illustrate catastrophe waiting to happen! Airline pilots are dropping dead at alarming rates after being forced to take the jab, or face losing their careers. This is a MAJOR concern for hundreds of thousands of daily air travelers, and it's only getting worse!

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Leaked Airline Documents Reveal HORRIFIC Details About 'Vaccinated' Pilots

The Stew Peters Show

The rest of the article consists of what looks to be an edition of the "Negotiating Committee Brief," a memo provided by the United Executive Master Council to its members. The brief, dated June 4, 2021, details a specific LOA, or letter or agreement, between the union and management at United Airlines. The brief opens:

As reported today by CNBC, roughly 80 percent of United pilots are vaccinated and have uploaded their COVID vaccination documentation to Flying Together, entitling them to 13 hours of add pay. For those pilots who do not get the vaccine, or choose not to upload their vaccination information, it is important to understand the provisions negotiated to protect your interests. Some pilots have elected not to get vaccinated due to religious, medical, or personal reasons. LOA 21-02 was designed to protect all pilots regardless of their vaccination intent. In this edition of the Negotiating Committee Brief, we provide background information on the negotiations that led to the LOA.

Nowhere in the brief is there evidence to support the article's claims about "horrific details" and that "airline pilots are dropping dead at alarming rates after being forced to take the jab, or face losing their careers." In fact, the memo basically says the opposite: that the union negotiated a delay of a possible mandate, in favor of incentives and voluntary vaccines for now. It concluded:

Eventually, the Company agreed to try it our way, knowing that if the process fails, they can still go back to their original plan of requiring the vaccine for anyone wishing to remain employed at United Airlines. This agreement is better for the pilots that get the vaccine and better for those that do not.

Lead Stories reached out to the union to ask about the article's claims. A spokesperson responded on June 23, 2021, confirming the document was genuine. Otherwise, though, the representative said the "Stew Peters Show" article was "riddled with errors, mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods." The spokesperson said:

Pilots are healthy and the vaccine is keeping us healthier, even in the midst of the pandemic.

This is not the first time we've written about pilots and COVID-19. Lead Stories has previously debunked the claim that four British Airways pilots died in one week after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. That's not true. Four pilots for the airline did pass away but they did not all die within one week, and there is no proof they died from a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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