We’ve seen airlines caving to Joe Biden and the vaccine mandate threats because they all are federal contractors and want to be able to hold onto those contracts. Biden’s vaccine mandate on federal employees includes a mandate for federal contractors, as well.
But Delta Airlines is setting a different path and making a very important point in the process. It shouldn’t be courageous to say that you stand for personal freedom in the United States of America, but it does seem so these days. Delta is the only one holding off on a COVID vaccine mandate, and they have 90% vaccination without forcing anyone.
CEO Ed Bastian said they had “work[ed] collaboratively” with their employees on the subject, but respected their own decisions. What a concept.
“By the time we’re done, we’ll be pretty close to fully vaccinated as a company without going through all the divisiveness of a mandate,” he 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.”
Bastian said that there would be religious and medical accommodations granted for those that wanted them, who wished to remain unvaccinated, and no one would be threatened with termination.
Wonder of wonders: Bastian said that Delta had a “low cancelation rate” and had overall operational balance including 116 “perfect days” without any cancelations. See how that works when you don’t have a mandate and aren’t threatening your employees?
“Delta’s done a great job all year long with making certain that we’re managing supply and demand in equilibrium,” he said. “Our people are doing a great job.”
“I can’t give enough thanks to the Delta team, providing a great product for our customers and it’s one of the reasons we were profitable this quarter.”
Meanwhile we see that other airlines are a mess. We saw what happened with Southwest last weekend, with all the cancellations. But there are problems for United Airlines and American as well, over the mandate. United just terminated 232 people. Both Southwest pilots and United employees have filed legal actions against their respective companies. The court prevented United from placing on unpaid leave any employee who receives religious or medical exemptions from the company for COVID-19 vaccinations. The court also put a temporary restraining order preventing United from denying any requests for religious or medical exemptions. American pilots indicated there may be shortages on the way there, unless an alternate was found to the mandate.
As we go into the holidays, before the deadline requirement set by the government of Dec. 8, we’re likely to see all kinds of “issues” and “bad weather” problems to explain more cancelations. At least it’s nice to know that one company has at least some respect for its employees.