Delta Air Lines Employee Vaccination Rates To Rise To 90% As Federal Mandate Approaches

Gate agents assist travelers at the Delta Air Lines Inc. baggage drop counter. at San Diego International Airport (SAN) in San Diego, California, USA, on Monday, April 27, 2020

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines said Wednesday that 90% of its employees, about 80,000 people, were vaccinated against Covid-19, weeks before the company introduced a $ 200 monthly insurance fee for employees who were not vaccinated.

Atlanta-based airline CEO Ed Bastian said earlier this month that about 85% of its employees were vaccinated.

Bastian said Wednesday that he expects the rate to rise to around 95% by early November.

The latest tally, disclosed in the quarterly income statement, stems from airlines wrestling with Biden administration rules that federal contractor employees must be vaccinated against Covid unless they can present compelling religious or medical grounds for tax exemption. …

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Alaska Airlines, which, like Delta, are federal contractors because they fly with government employees and provide other services, have told staff in recent weeks that they will honor a mandate and that employees must go through vaccination to continue working. there, unless they get an exception. This means staff must be fully vaccinated by December 8th.

Delta made no such announcement to staff.

Delta’s plan “is working and I’m proud that people came forward and made the right decision,” Bastian told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday. “We didn’t do it with a mandate. We did it by working with our people, trusting our people to make the right decisions for themselves, respecting their decisions, but at the same time avoiding disagreement about what constitutes a mandate.”

Pilot unions in the Southwest and America, each claiming not opposed to the vaccine, have opposed this mandate. The Pilots Union, the American Pilots Union, sent letters to the White House and lawmakers last month asking for exemptions for pilots, while the Southwest Pilots Union went to court in Texas last week to block its implementation.

In August, United Airlines issued a mandate to its own company, threatening to fire people who were not vaccinated before September 27. More than 96% of its U.S. employees are currently vaccinated, the report said.

Texas-based carriers American and Southwest said Tuesday they expect a federal vaccine mandate to replace an order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that bans businesses and others from administering the vaccine to employees.

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