At least 48 Delta Air Lines pilots have COVID-19


As reported by HuffPost, there is a lot of controversy at the moment regarding how Delta Air Lines manages COVID-19 in terms of keeping employees in the loop.

At least 48 Delta pilots have COVID-19

First, the Delta division of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) reports that at least 48 Delta pilots have tested positive for COVID-19. Delta has about ~ 15,000 pilots, so that’s a significant number, but it’s not really surprising.

I imagine the reality is that many more pilots have it, but just haven’t been tested, given the risks associated with being an airline employee right now.

As the executive president of ALPA says, “We think the number is big enough, but we just don’t have the data, the company is hiding it.”

Delta accused of hiding COVID-19 cases from employees

Images have been leaked of preparations for a virtual “town hall” for Delta pilots, where you can see union leaders and Delta management discussing how best to deal with this situation.

The reason for this controversy is as follows:

  • Delta executive ordered pilots tested positive for COVID-19 not to diagnose co-workers, including flight attendants
  • Union representative said one of Delta’s chief pilots told other pilots that “it was not your job to tell people that you were infected”

This was brought to the attention of a Delta spokesperson, who said:

“We are aware of the video and the discussion in it and are watching – our first reading is that it does not correspond to our [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]informed notification. ”

The company sent updated guidelines to pilots yesterday to notify employees when a co-worker is positive:

  • Officers will identify and notify employees who have come into prolonged contact with anyone with symptoms of COVID-19
  • They will notify employees up to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms, whereas previously they would only have informed employees on the day of
  • “Extended contact” is defined as being within six feet for 10 continuous minutes

Here is the video of the alleged concealment:

Personally, I don’t know how outrageous this is – I’ll let you decide. I don’t know if they were telling employees that it was not their “job” to tell their colleagues because communication had to be done at a higher level, or if it was because they actually wanted hide it.

Will this ultimately lead to more unionization at Delta?

I don’t think it will be immediate, but I will put my prediction there right away – I think this whole situation will ultimately lead Delta flight attendants to vote to be unionized. Not this specific (alleged) concealment, but rather the overall impacts of COVID-19.

There is no doubt that Delta has used the corporate culture as a competitive advantage, and Delta front-line workers are overall more pleasant and customer-oriented than in the United States and the United States. United.

While Delta pilots are unionized, flight attendants are not. There have been all kinds of efforts to organize the Delta flight attendants, and they have failed. However, the votes that took place were tight. For example, in 2010, 9,544 flight attendants voted against unionization, while 9,216 flight attendants voted in favor of unionization.

I think that organizations trying to unionize Delta flight attendants will at some point make a few comments:

  • This concealment and the lack of “protection” for flight attendants have
  • The fact that flight attendants at Delta are not offered the same opportunities as flight attendants from other airlines when it comes to paid leave; Delta only offers flight attendants unpaid leave, while airlines such as American offer flight attendants paid leave options.
  • Delta has long used profit sharing as a competitive advantage, although I imagine there will not be many in the next two years

To be clear, I am not saying that I am for or against Delta flight attendants who are unionized. I rather believe that, given that Delta flight attendants have been 50/50 on unionization in the past, I think it could push them over the edge when the next unionization efforts arrive.


It’s hard to know for sure how much hiding there really is here. I can appreciate the management concept having a system by which employees are put in contact regarding contact with those who have tested positive for COVID-19. It seems more reliable than putting a burden on each employee.

The benefit of this article is twofold – it is quite significant that a minimum of 48 (and probably many more) Delta pilots have tested positive for COVID-19. Also – I’m just betting now – I think Delta flight attendants can be unionized soon after things start to return to normal (ish).


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