American’s Flight Attendant Union Wants A Full Uniform Recall

In September American Airlines rolled out new uniforms for their 70,000+ employees.

While uniforms in and of themselves won’t change the customer experience, symbolically they represented the “new American” becoming one, since previously American and US Airways flight attendants wore different uniforms. Furthermore, the new uniforms seemed to be a real point of pride for many employees.

Well, unfortunately within a week of the uniforms being released, more than 400 American flight attendants complained to the airline and union about having broken out in hives and experiencing itching and headaches. During my flights with American over the past two months, I’ve probably seen a total of a dozen flight attendants wearing the old uniforms, presumably due to this issue.

American-Airlines-Uniforms-1

Well, it looks like the problem is only getting worse, and more than 1,600 flight attendants have reported suspected uniform reactions. Therefore American’s flight attendant union is asking the airline to recall the uniforms until further joint testing has been done. 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.”

So American’s flight attendant union is encouraging all members to call the American Airlines uniform hotline and wear the old uniforms, regardless of whether or not they’re experiencing a reaction.

Here’s the full press release from the union yesterday:

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.

I’ll be curious to see how this plays out…

Comments

  1. You forgot to add the word union in “American’s flight attendant is asking the airline to recall the uniforms” (2nd set of bolded words)

  2. And while we’re at it, let’s have AA start cracking down on the pieces of flair the FAs wear, the number of variations that exist – most of which make FAs look unprofessional and/or like a sack of donuts, and maybe add some creativity and class like nearly every other airline outside the US. Also: grooming standards being upheld.

    Seriously, most FAs look haggard BEFORE their first flight, let alone half way into one or after two or three turnarounds.

  3. American is a pretty evil company. Who would put their employees health at risk over a uniform. Should have been a full recall from the start. Shame on American

  4. Im a flight attendant at American and 1600 reports of 24000 Flights Attendants its ridiculous to recall the uniform which is fine and liked by MOST of us.

    If are impacted wear the old pieces or buy grey ones at AA expense whixh the company allows but why should give up my good new …actually perfect fot uniforms to wear my old sack of a uniform. SORRY JUST DONT AGREE WITH THE UNION on this one

  5. @Lincois Ewers-I see your point, but I would rather wear the old uniform than the new one as the current uniform has caused problems to the FAs health. It’s style over substance!

  6. Sounds like a lot of hysteria by a bunch of whiny flight attendants.
    The materials in the uniform can easily be inspected at a lab and the presence of specific allergens can be determined.
    They don’t like the new uniforms so they are pretending to suggest that they are unhealthy in some way.

  7. Am I the only one whom thinks this may be a new way for AA employees / Union to stick it to their company?

    It looks BS to me.

    Either there is a VERY rare substance etc on the fabric which cause everyone to physically have issues or none. But a selected 1600…

    And FA’s nowadays (big US carriers) are pretty scary/mean group –

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