New American Airlines uniforms are reportedly causing hives, rashes and other health problems.
USA Today reported that a vast number of employees apparently started suffering health problems soon after the new uniforms were rolled out. As a result, the union representing the airline carrier’s flight attendants is reportedly demanding a massive recall of the new American Airlines uniforms.
American Airline workers demand ‘full recall’ of uniforms that workers claim made them sick | https://t.co/qlt8rQIIVx
— Deploribles Oh Baby (@MoberlyG) December 4, 2016
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) issued a statement on the issue Wednesday, highlighting the number and type of severe reactions and health problems that were allegedly being caused by the fabric of the uniform.
“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… The growing number of reports…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.”
The union further stated that its members should look good “and feel good” in the uniform. The union published a list of guidelines for affected employees to follow after experiencing the reported reactions to the new uniforms on its official website.
After removing the uniform completely, they were instructed to store the items in question inside of a zip lock or plastic bag. If he or she experienced severe symptoms, the union advised them to consider seeking medical attention. Regardless of the severity, all affected American Airlines employees were encouraged to submit a New Uniform Reaction Report (which was provided on the website) and instructed to call the AA Uniform Call Center as well to report it.
American Airlines first rolled out the new uniforms to more than 70,000 workers back in September.
— Airline Branding (@AirlineBranding) October 3, 2016
According to Cincinnati.com, the “slate gray, cobalt and crisp white” uniforms were part of a major branding strategy with the objective of giving the employees a brand new and modern look when interacting with customers. It was also a big business move in regards to showing the new direction of the company after the 2013 closing of the American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger.
Brady Byrnes, the American Airlines Director of Global Marketing, stated that the uniform overhaul and roll-out helped to showcase their employees as one united brand. Byrnes further explained that “being able to see that come together” was the only thing left to do address on behalf of the customers.
— Andrea Ahles (@andreaahles) December 1, 2016
Even if the merger did not go through, though, some may argue that American Airlines and US Airways were both long overdue for a major uniform overhaul. US Airways reportedly overhauled their employee uniforms nearly a decade ago. However, Byrnes claimed that American Airlines had not experienced a “major refresh” with their uniforms for much longer than that.
“There have been some new ties and scarves, but we’ve pretty much been in the same clothing on the legacy [American Airlines] side for greater than 25 years.”
American Airlines spokesman Ron DeFeo stated that the airline carrier recently allowed nearly 200 flight attendants to go back to wearing their old uniforms for the time being instead of the new uniforms that are allegedly hazardous. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, DeFeo also confirmed that an order for 600 non-wool uniforms was also placed in order to address the issue of reported skin reactions.
For the employees who experienced reactions to the new uniforms, the report states that American Airlines is providing them with dermatological testing in order to determine the root cause of the problem within the actual fabrics. Even though the company claims they are taking the issue seriously, they made it clear in a reported letter to the company’s flight attendants that they “stand firm in our conviction” that the new uniform is safe.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Matt Slocum]