Delta Air Lines CEO says 90% of employees are vaccinated against Covid without company mandate

Gate brokers help vacationers at a Delta Air Lines Inc. bag drop counter on the San Diego International Airport (SAN) in San Diego, California, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2020.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines stated Wednesday 90% of its workforce of about 80,000 folks have been vaccinated against Covid-19, weeks earlier than the company imposes a $200 month-to-month insurance coverage surcharge on employees who have not gotten pictures.

The Atlanta-based airline’s CEO, Ed Bastian, earlier this month stated about 85% of its employees was vaccinated.

On Wednesday, Bastian stated he anticipated that fee to rise to about 95% by early November.

The newest tally, disclosed in its quarterly earnings launch, comes as airways are grappling with the Biden administration’s guidelines that federal contractors’ employees have to be vaccinated against Covid, until they will present a legitimate spiritual or medical purpose to be exempt.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines, which like Delta are federal contractors as a result of they fly authorities employees and supply different providers, in latest weeks have advised employees they may adjust to the mandate and that employees should be vaccinated to proceed working there, until they obtain an exemption. That means employees must be totally vaccinated by Dec. 8.

Delta’s Bastian stated its personal plan is working.

“We haven’t done it with a mandate,” Bastian stated in an interview Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We have done it working collaboratively with our people, trusting our people to make the right decisions for themselves, respecting their decisions, but at the same time avoiding the divisiveness of what the mandate is posing to society.

“I feel the spirit of the [federal] mandate was to get folks vaccinated. It wasn’t to attempt to power folks with the menace of their jobs if corporations are doing the proper factor,” Bastian said.

Delta in August announced that it will raise health insurance premiums by $200 a month for staff that aren’t fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, citing rising health insurance costs. Bastian told employees at the time it costs the company, which self-insures its employees, an average of $50,000 every time an employee is hospitalized for Covid.

“All Delta employees who’ve been hospitalized with COVID weren’t totally vaccinated,” he said at the time.

Pilots unions at Southwest and American, which each say they are not anti-vaccine, have fought the mandate. The Allied Pilots Association, American’s pilots’ union, wrote to the White House and lawmakers last month asking for exemptions for pilots, while Southwest’s pilots’ union asked a court in Texas last week to block its implementation.

United Airlines issued its own company mandate in August, threatening to fire people who weren’t vaccinated by Sept. 27. More than 96% of its U.S. employees are now vaccinated, it said.

On Tuesday, Texas-based carriers American and Southwest said they expected the federal vaccine mandate to supersede an order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that bars companies and others from mandating the vaccine for employees.

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