Delta airlines employees who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine will be paying $200 more for their monthly health insurance coverage beginning November 1. Employees were notified Wednesday by the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian in the announcement of new covid policies for employees.
The CEO cited the hefty costs of covering employees who become hospitalized with the virus. “The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person” the employee memo stated. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is crating for our company” the memo continued.
“In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.” Delta also implemented another policy, beginning September 30, “in compliance with state and local laws, COVID pay protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection.” After which, unvaccinated employees who get COVID will have to use their sick days, without exemptions.
CEO Bastian added roughly 75% of Delta’s approximately 75,000 employees are already vaccinated and that “aggressiveness of the [delta] variant means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100 percent as possible.”
Delta, which has the fewest unionized employees of the large U.S. airlines, said it informed the Air Line Pilots Association, their aviators’ labor union, of the changes.
The Delta chapter of ALPA has repeatedly said vaccinations should be voluntary for its members.
The union “has consistently advocated to maintain the right of each individual pilot to consult with his or her medical provider regarding COVID-19 vaccinations or booster doses,” it said in a statement. “While the Delta [master executive council] respects Delta Air Line’s efforts to mitigate the impact of breakthrough COVID-19 variant infections, it needs to bargain with the Delta MEC over any employer-mandated vaccination for pilots.”
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