About 90 percent of Delta Airlines employees are vaccinated already so the company will not issue a vaccination mandate. It’s the only major airline not mandating vaccinations, after President Joe Biden required federal contractors, including airlines, to have mandates in place by Dec. 8.
Delta has about 90,000 employees and appears to have motivated its workforce to vaccinate by increasing health care premiums for employees not vaccinated against Covid-19.
“By the time we’re done, we’ll be pretty close to fully vaccinated as a company without going through all the divisiveness of a mandate,” CEO Ed Bastian told Fox Business anchor Liz Claman. “We’re proving that you can work collaboratively with your people, trusting your people to make the right decisions, respecting their decisions and not forcing them over the loss of their jobs.”
Mr. Bastian believes religious and medical accommodations will be necessary for those who wish to remain unvaccinated for religious or medical reasons, without having their employment threatened.
“The reason the mandate was put in by the president, I believe, was because they wanted to make sure companies had a plan to get their employees vaccinated,” he said. “A month before the president came out with the mandate, we had already announced our plan to get all of our people vaccinated. And the good news is the plan is working.”
Employees received an August warning from their CEO that their health care premiums would rise dramatically if they were not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Effective November 1, employees who have not been immunized against coronavirus will face a $200 increase in their monthly payments, employees were warned in an Aug. 25 memo from Bastian. The head of the airline added that hospital stays for employees with COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company,” he wrote in the memo.
Unvaccinated employees were also notified they would be required to wear face coverings in all indoor Delta settings, effective immediately.
President Joe Biden announced his administration would be mandating vaccination, testing, and mask requirements for not just federal employees, but many private businesses, too. Last month, he told the country he instructed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a rule requiring vaccines for workers in all businesses with at least 100 employees.
Most of Delta’s competition has implemented vaccine mandates for their employees to comply with Biden’s executive order.
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