Delta CEO Refuses to Back White House Mandate


BUCK: “Delta CEO Ed Bastian refuses to impose Biden’s ‘divisive’ vaccine mandate,” according to the Daily Mail here, “reveals 90% of staff are already jabbed because they ‘work collaboratively’ with employees and don’t threaten them with being fired.” Now, this is interesting. So much has been done, Clay, on the threat up to this point of this Department of Labor/OSHA mandate from the federal government, right?

But they haven’t actually rolled it out. It’s not clear — and even that allows for weekly testing. So businesses that have not allowed for a weekly testing mandate have gone not only in advance of in a more extreme coercion then, and here you have Delta saying, “Look, it’s not a perfect situation.” I’m sure people are saying, “Why’s he gonna try to work with people?”

But maybe what happened last week with the airlines, whether it was mostly sick-out or a kind of de facto stay-home situation or not, has shown some of these companies, “You don’t really want to push for that last 5% if it’s gonna cost you hundreds or maybe thousands of employees, maybe.”

CLAY: First of all, credit to Delta for being somewhat logical — their CEO — in the way that he is applying this mandate. I think what needs to happen — and this is what I would encourage everybody out there. You’re right, Buck, that we still haven’t seen the official OSHA guidelines and seen exactly what that’s going to look like.

My belief is one reason we haven’t seen that is because they know they’re gonna get sued as soon as they issue the official ruling, and they’re probably running it through the most legally sound minds they can to try to crack this mandate in a way that could survive constitutional muster. But larger context here, what I would tell people if you are a CEO — and there are a lot of them out there who are listening to us — or you’re high level in a company, I think what you need to do is just create a substantial window of exception, right?

I’ll give you an example. In my kids’ school district, there is right now a mask mandate. As they are fighting it out legally, federal judges are kind of going back and forth every different level. But every single religious or health request to be exempted from the mask mandate is granted. So that means as a result, a massive percentage of kids, including my own, do not have to wear masks at schools.

They’re in public schools here in Tennessee, because they are expansively allowing religious and health-related exemptions without doing deep dives on whether or not that’s appropriate. Buck, if you’ve already got 90% — which a lot of these companies have — and you are giving aggressively incentives, let’s say $200 day off like a lot of places are in order to get the covid vaccine, why not just grant a lot of exemptions and say that’s a medically quiet issue? I don’t think people need to go around and brag about getting an exemption necessarily.

BUCK: Yeah.

CLAY: But that final 10% rather than fire them, just have an expansive exemption, I think that would solve a lot of issues.

BUCK: I’d like the people I know who are running around bragging about their maybe not-so-on-the-up-and-up vax cards, I’m like, “Shhh!” First rule of vax card creativity is you don’t talk about vax card creativity.

CLAY: I’ve heard that’s wildly popular.

BUCK: I know. There’s so much of that. There’s so much of that going on all over the place. That’s one thing.

CLAY: In L.A. I heard a bunch of people, Buck, talking about how they had their fake vax cards.

BUCK: It’s very, very common in New York City, I can tell you that, but I think also one of the reasons that the Biden administration have essentially been in the background saying, “We’re gonna force you all to get the shot in some way. We’re just figuring out how we’re gonna force you,” and hoping that the private sector, that these companies will do their bidding. And that has largely happened in a lot of places, not everywhere. Obviously Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said that private sector business mandates for employees are not okay in the state of Texas.

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: Right? And so now you’re setting off what’s going to be a state versus federal constitutional showdown over plenary powers versus the power of the federal government to have such an expansive mandate. But all along with this I think, Clay, there’s also a concern that if they roll out this mandate from the Biden administration, are they really not gonna have a natural immunity exemption?

Are they not gonna have religious exemptions? How will those be instituted? The devil is in the details, exactly we were talking about in Tennessee. Well, if they give companies the right to let people opt out for conscience reasons, okay, guess what? Right? So I think they realize it’s harder than it sounds.

CLAY: Not only that, I think also one of their big strategies has been to try to scare people into getting the vaccine with the idea that the mandate’s coming. I got a good question for you. What if Biden administration says mandate’s not necessary at the last minute because so many people have gotten vaccinated?

BUCK: It could happen.

CLAY: Could you see that suddenly be a loophole that they exploit?

BUCK: You know what I think? They’re waiting to see what the numbers are as we enter winter.


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