Delta CEO Says No Jobs Will be Lost for Unvaccinated Employees

Delta Airlines is the first major carrier to resist the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for employees. CEO Ed Bastian said over 90% of his staff are vaccinated, mostly because of his approach to not impose the mandate.

Speaking to Fox Business, Bastian said, “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. 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.”

Delta has a 90% vaccination rate and expects to add another 5% this month.

Bastian praised the company’s high vaccination status without the “divisiveness of a mandate.” Bastian acknowledged the need for employees to have religious and medical exemptions for the small percentage who choose not to be vaccinated. He has made it clear that their job will not be threatened if they do not get vaccinated.

According to The Blaze, Bastian said, “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.”

While Delta is not enforcing a mandate, the company implemented a health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated employees.

Starting on November 1, unvaccinated employees enrolled in a Delta health plan will incur a $200 monthly fee. Delta’s reasoning for this is the cost of an average hospital stay for someone with Covid is $40,000-$50,000. Bastian said, “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company.” He also added that all employees who were hospitalized with Covid were unvaccinated.

Other airline competitors, like American Airlines, announced that they would not offer vaccine alternatives like weekly testing.

According to The Daily Mail, American Airlines President Robert Isom said, “[He] will not bow to the pilots’ union request to allow for ‘alternatives’ to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Our team members need to be vaccinated. We want every one of our team members to be vaccinated and, equally important, we want every one of our team members to have a job and continue to work at American.”

Delta’s decision comes with widespread support, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz. On October 16, Cruz tweeted, “Bravo to ⁦@Delta⁩ for having the courage to say NO to the federal vaccine mandate. It’s the right thing to do—to respect the right of their employees to make their own personal decisions about their own healthcare.”

 

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