CHICAGO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) on Wednesday said employees will have to pay $200 more every month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan if they choose to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The move to add a surcharge to health insurance contributions is the latest tactic by corporate America to push employees to get the shots to fight the pandemic.
A number of U.S. companies, including Delta competitor United Airlines (UAL.O), have mandated shots for their employees to protect their operations from the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has especially hit parts of the country with lower vaccination levels.
President Joe Biden has also urged private businesses to require employees to be vaccinated.
Hours after Delta Air announced the surcharge, Canadian rival Air Canada (AC.TO)said workers who are not vaccinated by Oct. 30 will face termination or be sent on unpaid leave. It has also made full vaccination a condition of employment for new employees.
Surging coronavirus infections have clouded the outlook for airline companies. American Airlines (AAL.O)said on Wednesday its August revenue was trending below its internal forecast due to a slowdown in bookings and a rise in cancellations...
In a staff memo, Delta Air Chief Executive Ed Bastian said the monthly surcharge would take effect on Nov. 1. He said the surcharge is necessary to address the financial risk the Atlanta-based airline faces from the decision to not vaccinate.
Wade Symons, partner and regulatory resources group leader at global consulting firm Mercer, reckons U.S. companies have reached a "tipping point" for taking stricter measures to motivate employees to get vaccinated.
"We anticipate more companies will announce vaccine mandates and surcharges in the coming weeks," he said.
The firm's data shows a quarter of U.S. employers with workforces of 500 or more charge employees extra for company-sponsored healthcare plans if they use tobacco.
Delta Air Lines passenger planes are seen parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Delta Air did not say whether its employees were subject to any other surcharges.
PROOF OF INOCULATION
A Delta Air spokesperson said the average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost the company $40,000 per person. The surcharge would apply to the entire workforce and proof or documentation of vaccination will be needed to avoid it, the spokesperson said.
Chris Riggins, spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association at Delta, said the union does not intend to oppose the proposed surcharge because it would not affect the healthcare plan it has negotiated with the airline for its members.
But since most of the pilots are not covered by the union-negotiated plan, Riggins said they would see an increase in their healthcare costs if they decide to remain unvaccinated..
Bastian said unvaccinated Delta employees will be required to wear masks in all indoor settings, effective immediately.
Any employee in the United States who is not fully vaccinated will be required to take a COVID-19 test every week. The mandatory testing will start on Sept. 12. (excerpts)
Extra Comment: There is a rumor coming from Hal Turner that the US government is creating a "vaccine passport" that will be required for any purchases, including to buy gas for your car. I will report on this if and when it is verified.
If this rumor is true and it becomes law, it would be another redline for the free states that are standing for Constitutional rights of the people against mandated vaccinations. If this happens, it is very likely many states would secede from this occupied federal government that overthrew the Republic with a fraudulent election - was validated by the Supreme Court and sanctioned by a corrupt Congress.
The evidence of communist control keeps coming at the public. GE