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Sun, Oct 17, 2021

Delta Airlines Rumored Ready to Drop Vaccine Mandate

“Trust People to Make the Right Decisions,” CEO Says 

Ed Bastian, in an interview on The Claman Countdown, spoke about his company’s lack of mandatory employee coronavirus vaccination. In a time of supply chain woes, worker shortages, and miscellaneous discontent, some online have seen his comments as indicators of company policy. With other carriers entering a game of chicken, where employees choose between vaccination or forced termination, the move made good fodder for weekend headlines amidst the charged debate. 

During the interview, Bastian said: “The reason the mandate was put in by the president, I believe, is 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 everybody vaccinated. And the good news is that our plan is working. At Delta today we are 90% vaccinated, fully vaccinated, across our entire company. And more and more vaccinations are coming in by the day. So I expect that by the time we get to November next month, we’re going to be at the 95% threshold, and when you consider there’s going to be some religious and medical accommodations made, that we’re going to need to consider, that by the time we’re done we’re going to be pretty close to fully vaccinated as a company without going through all the divisiveness of a mandate.”

While an official publication from the company has not been released supporting this stance, a notice on August 25th outlined a few requirements for those employees who remained unvaccinated. While at work, they are required to use masks, and pay a $200 monthly surcharge for those enrolled in the healthcare plan. For those who tested positive for the virus during their mandatory weekly testing, isolation and quarantine were required, with no COVID pay protection provided after September 30. 

While some employees may feel the requirements are onerous, they are an easier accommodation than competing airlines’ offer of separation. It remains to be seen if Delta policy is true to his word, but Bastian says the company is willing to work with their employees. 

“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.” 



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