Delta Air Lines will make its unvaccinated workers pay

Get the shot or pay an extra $200 a month for health insurance, CEO tells workers.

(Scott Sommerdorf | Tribune File Photo) Delta's first flight from Paris is escorted by police vehicles after it touched down at Salt Lake International Airport, Monday June 2, 2008.

Delta Air Lines is going to make it expensive for its employees who won’t get vaccinated for COVID-19.

In a memo sent to the company’s 74,000 employees, CEO Ed Bastian announced that beginning Nov. 1, unvaccinated workers would be charged a $200 monthly surcharge on their health insurance.

“I know some of you may be taking a wait-and-see approach, or waiting for full FDA approval,” Bastian wrote in the memo. “With this week’s announcement that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, the time for you to get vaccinated is now.”

About 75% of Delta’s workforce is already vaccinated, according to the airline. The company announced in May that it would require all new hires to be vaccinated.

The Salt Lake International Airport is one of Delta’s key hubs, and the airline has more than 3,000 employees in Utah.

In addition to the health insurance surcharge, unvaccinated employees will be required to undergo weekly COVID testing beginning Sept. 12 — a requirement that will remain in effect “while community case rates are high.”

Delta stopped short of outright mandating vaccines. United and Frontier have announced they will require all employees to be vaccinated or face termination. Southwest and American will encourage their employees to be vaccinated but will not require vaccines.

No airline is requiring its passengers to be vaccinated, although federal mask mandates remain in effect.