American’s Attendants Say New Airline Uniforms Making Them Sick


American Airlines flight attendants filed a grievance with the carrier over new uniforms, saying they have caused headaches, skin irritation and other problems since being introduced several months ago.

The airline should either stop issuing the uniforms or allow workers to wear their previous outfits, Bob Ross, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, said in a letter to American’s general counsel. The union also requested that the airline, the biggest U.S.-based carrier by traffic, reimburse flight attendants for any uniform-related health-care costs and set aside $2 million to fund a study of the outfits.

“These uniforms continue to put our members at risk, forcing them to use sick leave and affecting their overall health, plus potentially the health of their colleagues with whom they come in contact,” Ross wrote in the Wednesday letter. Flight attendants have reported endocrine issues, wheezing, fatigue, vertigo and other conditions after wearing the outfits, he wrote.

American Airlines Group Inc. has tested the uniforms three times and will conduct a fourth test jointly with the union, spokesman Ron DeFeo said. The carrier also has set up a call center for complaints about the uniforms, and about 300 attendants have reported experiencing a reaction, he said. The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline will cover the cost of dermatological testing for such employees and will respond to the union’s letter within 20 days, he said.

“Safety clearly is the primary objective in all this,” DeFeo said. American rolled out 26,000 new flight-attendants uniforms earlier this year, out of some 70,000 new uniforms issued companywide, he said.

(c) 2016, Bloomberg · Michael Sasso 




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