American Airlines unveiled new uniforms for its flight attendants in September. Hundreds have since then complained to the Flight Attendants union of allergic reactions to the new uniforms.
American Airlines’ flight attendants union wants the carrier to issue a full recall of its new uniforms.
The Fort Worth-based carrier new uniforms was manufactured by Twin Hill, in since September American Airlines has worked with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants to test the uniforms and work on replacements for those who have a reaction.
The union said it has received reports of headaches, hives and rashes related to the uniforms from over 1,600 flight attendants.
While the airline is helping with further joint testing, they’re not doing a full recall, which the union feels isn’t protecting their members.
Press release from Association of Professional Flight Attendants Wednesday November 30
Uniform Update – LAA/LUS
APFA National Officers met with the Company this week to discuss the results from APFA’s independent testing and to address the increasing number of Flight Attendants who are reporting adverse symptoms and reactions to the new uniform.
We were all excited when the Company announced in 2014 its plans to launch an updated uniform for all employees at the New American. After many years laboring in the “old blues,” we were yearning for a fresh, contemporary new look as we moved forward in this merger. APFA is pleased that many of our members like the style of the uniform articles and the range of options afforded our members.
But the look of a uniform is of secondary importance to APFA. Our members should not only look good in the uniform, but also feel good in the uniform. Yet this feeling is not the case for a rapidly growing segment of our membership who has reported adverse reactions, including many Flight Attendants who are quite pleased with the look of the uniform.
Since August, we have received over 1,600 Flight Attendant reports of suspected uniform reactions that include headaches, rashes, hives, burning skin and eye irritation, itching, and respiratory problems—to name a few. The growing number of reports of suspected reactions, triggered by both direct and indirect contact with the uniform, has prompted APFA to ask that all uniforms be recalled until further joint testing with the Company can be completed.
While the Company has reaffirmed its commitment to continue joint testing with APFA to determine what is causing these conditions, it has stopped short of a full recall. We feel a remedy that excludes a full recall of the uniform fails to adequately protect our members.
To that end, APFA will continue to explore all legal options and consult with additional experts in the field to better understand the results of our ongoing independent testing as well as joint testing moving forward.
In the meantime, we encourage Flight Attendants to contact the AA Uniform Call Center now to return to their old uniform, regardless of whether they experienced a reaction.
The Company has agreed to research vendors to supply temporary alternative pieces of the grey uniform until a permanent solution can be found.
Please consider filing an IOD/OJI if you have experienced a reaction, as the Company has also agreed to provide skin patch testing and provide follow up with a dermatologist for affected Flight Attendants who file—or have already filed—an IOD/OJI.
APFA has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the Company protects the health of our members that is not just limited to the environment in which they work. The troubling reports of uniform reactions from a significantly growing segment of our fellow union brothers and sisters require, at the very least, an immediate recall of the uniform while both APFA and the Company proceed with joint testing. The interest of being provided an aesthetically designed uniform must be balanced with the health and safety of our members.
All employees deserve to be able to come to work in a uniform and an environment free from toxins and potential health hazards.