Ten years ago, when airline pilot Jason Kunisch and his wife were getting married, they decided to research each vaccine and make case-by-case decisions regarding immunizations for themselves and their children. When the COVID-19 experimental gene therapy “vaccine” became available, they assessed it and decided against taking it.
Then Kunisch’s employer, a major airline, declared it was “mandating” the shot as a condition of employment. Like thousands of pilots across the U.S., Kunisch and family now face a radical change of lifestyle and career because they will not cede their personal medical decisions to an airline.
“I’ve got two kids. My wife stays at home,” Kunisch, a San Diego native now based in South Carolina, says. “We’ve set up a life where we homeschool our kids … that would come to an end because both my wife and I would have to work. We would probably lose our house or have to sell it, sell most of our assets, liquidate just about everything and start over.”
His company started strongly encouraging and offering incentives to employees to receive the shots. But by early September, the carrot had turned into a stick.
“Now we are faced with a decision, and it’s very strongly worded: If you choose to remain unvaccinated, you will no longer be an employee of the company,” Kunisch says. “That’s huge. That has many repercussions.”
Freedom Flyers Rising
Kunisch started flying airplanes in high school, graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has flown professionally for 20 years.
Today he also serves in leadership with U.S. Freedom Flyers, an 85,000-strong worldwide community of people uniting to “fight federal and state mandates which aim to strip Citizens of their right to medical freedom,” according to their website. Led by pilots, the group gives resources and support to workers in a variety of fields to preserve medical freedoms in workplaces.
“We’re growing exponentially the more word gets out there,” Kunisch says. “We’re getting more support, not just from within the U.S. or the transportation industry, but outside the transportation industry, and outside of the U.S. …It’s the American in all of us that is being repulsed by this coercion, and we’ve had enough of it. We’re done. We’re not giving in. We do not consent.”
Joining the group are flight attendants, ground personnel, mechanics, locomotive engineers, air traffic control, subway operators, surgeons, teachers and more, he says. The “villain,” he says, is not necessarily the airline companies but the federal government, which is pushing medical mandates.
“We’re going to sue the h— out of ‘em, and we’re going to stop this,” Kunisch promises. “And when we win that, then we’re going to assess the landscape and go after what’s next.”
Within his own airline, he says supervisors are coming to him in private to say, “I don’t support this. Please keep fighting. Here’s my donation for the legal fight. This has got to stop because this is crazy.’”
Disrupted Travel, Suicide Calls
Getting an exemption is not a viable pathway, considering how United Airlines punished its employees who sought exemptions with indefinite, unpaid leave, says Kunisch.
“We don’t know what’s on the other side of that exemption. Nobody knows,” he says. “The airline isn’t saying anything; management isn’t saying anything. The unions are failing the employees by not giving clear guidance or answering questions. In fact, a lot of times, the unions are backstabbing union members even though these dutiful union members have been working for the last 18 months through COVID to get these traveling nurses where they need to be, to get the vaccines from port to port to these hospitals, to travel into other countries even though they’re hotspots … Now the union and the company are leaving the workers on their own, to fend for themselves.”
Kunisch says that 10 to 15 percent of air traffic control employees in his company will not take the vaccine, and neither will a quarter of the pilots. As the fight goes on, workplace conditions are deteriorating.
“On a personal level, there’s a ton of stress going on right now, and you’ve got people who are barreling down the runway at 160 miles an hour thinking about, ‘Am I going to lose my job?’“ he says. “We’re starting to get suicide calls at a high rate … because come six weeks from now, these people aren’t going to have a job.”
He warns that, as a result of not being fully staffed, holes will pop up in airline schedules.
“[Employees] are going to say, ‘We’re not fully staffed, we’re not fully rested, we’re not fully prepared for this flight,’ and so they’re going to call off sick, which they should,” he says. “They’re going to call off mental fatigue, which they should.”
Upcoming holiday travel may be especially disrupted.
“You tell 25 percent of the workforce, ‘You can’t come to work,’ come the holidays, you do the math,” he says. “The repercussions of that in the transportation industry and your ease to go see grandma and eat turkey on Thanksgiving is now in jeopardy.”
‘God Has a Plan’
The Kunisch family is facing escalating pressure with unity and resolve — to stand by their convictions.
“[My wife’s] words to me before I shared my views were, ‘Jason, this is the hill we’re going to die on,’” Kunisch says. “She’s fully on board with this whole thing because she sees through it and sees what’s going on. We have to stick up for this. We’re doing it for ourselves, we’re doing it for the American people, and we’re doing it for our kids and the next generation.”
If they give in now, they believe it will only grow worse.
“Today, we’re talking about vaccines,” Kunisch says. “What are we going to talk about tomorrow? Today, we’re talking about employment. Tomorrow, what are we going to talk about? You can’t get your Social Security check? You can’t access your 401k that you saved your whole life for? You can’t go buy groceries? You can’t get your digital banking? You can’t do any of these sorts of things unless you submit to a procedure that you would not otherwise do except that the government is making you do that? So that’s what we’re fighting for. That’s what we’re standing up for, and that’s what we’re trying to put an end to.”
He is looking into other professions, possibly being retrained in another skill set. With a slew of seasoned pilots set to retire anyway due to age, Kunisch says airlines face serious potential pilot shortages in future years.
“Over the next five years, an estimated half of the airline pilots are going to be retiring,” he says. “In order to train an airline pilot, you need years of getting your FAA ratings and licenses. You then need to go build time and experience. You then need to start on the smaller aircraft and build your way up to the aircraft that airlines fly. That process doesn’t just happen overnight, so we’re now talking about a twofold tidal wave.”
As for their situation, “God has a plan for me and our family,” he says. “Long term, we would figure it out by the grace of God. He would give us guidance.”