Delta Air Lines battles with nation’s largest flight attendant union over shortened Covid sick leave

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  • Delta sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Association of Flight Attendants last week over comments on social media about the airline’s sick policy.
  • Delta urged the CDC to ease its isolation guidelines for successful COVID cases, warning about staff shortages and flight cancellations, which later materialized despite the new policies.

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Delta Air Lines sent a cease-and-desist letter to the nation’s largest flight attendant union after its president criticized the company’s short sick leave policy for employees with COVID-19.

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Last Thursday, Sarah Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, tweeted that the union was receiving “multiple reports” that Delta was “telling workers in work groups that they should come to work/symptomatic even if someone in the home tested positive.” got tested.” She also said that positive workers were “asked to return to work after 5 days if the fever is less than 100.9, even if the test is positive.”

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A day later, Peter Carter, Delta’s chief legal officer, sent the letter to the AFA.

Carter’s letter states, “Not only is this information false, but it is actionable because it casts Delta in a highly negative light, suggesting that Delta was asking employees to work when they were sick.” ” “Such irresponsible conduct is inappropriate, defamatory and should be stopped immediately.”

Nelson, whose union does not represent Delta’s flight attendants but launched an organizing campaign there in November 2019, defended his comments, saying Delta’s policies have confused flight crews.

“Delta’s policy now refers to being asymptomatic before returning to work, which was a serious concern because CDC guidance was initially omitted from Delta’s policy announcement,” he told Delta CEO Ed Bastian on Tuesday. Wrote. “But we’re still getting questions from Delta flight attendants about returning to work with a low-grade fever and the fact that Delta’s current policy only recommends getting tested before returning to work and testing.” is not required.”

Delta updated its COVID sick leave policy from December 28 with five days of pay protection — less than 10 days — that doesn’t require employees to use up days at their sick banks. Employees may get an additional two days if they test positive again on the fifth day.

“Delta has always followed the science in making our policies regarding COVID-19,” a Delta spokesperson said Tuesday. “We sent a cease-and-desist letter because we believe institutions and leaders should speak carefully, truthfully and factually.”

The carrier had asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halve its recommended isolation time to five days for breakthrough COVID infections, warning about staff shortages and flight cancellations, which later materialized. JetBlue Airways and other carriers asked for similar changes. The CDC updated its guidance on December 27 after easing recommendations for health care workers.

Between Christmas and the first week of the year, Covid sickened workers and a series of winter storms swelled more than 20,000. United Airlines, which still has 10 days of pay protection for employees with Covid, said on Tuesday it would further trim its schedule, with 3,000 employees, about 4% of its US workforce, testing positive for the coronavirus. Will be

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines offer 10 days salary protection to employees who test positive for COVID.

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