PHOTO: American Airlines’ new uniforms that it rolled out in September. (photo courtesy of American Airlines)
American Airlines and the Association Of Professional Flight Attendants agreed on Tuesday to a new alternative other than a uniform recall—a problem that has been plaguing the carrier since the introduction of its new duds six months ago.
The issue has been an enormous one, both in scale and severity.
American rolled out the new wool uniforms made by Twin Hill to 70,000 frontline workers, including flight attendants, back in September. Within a month, hundreds of flight attendants had complained to their union and management about adverse effects, including rashes and headaches.
Six months later, more than 3,000 American Airlines employees have made a complaint about the new uniforms. CEO Doug Parker called it “a huge problem” and "as difficult an issue as we've ever had to deal with."
The option to purchase a new polyester uniform will be provided by Aramark, a well-known company that provides uniforms and clothing for numerous industries and companies, including food processing, food service, healthcare, automotive and more.
So far the news hasn’t gone over well for several reasons.
One, this is just a band-aid at the moment: The flight attendants’ union asked for a full recall of the new uniforms but that option wasn’t addressed on Tuesday by American.
READ MORE: American Admits Huge Problem With Uniforms
Two, there are many flight attendants and workers who are already wearing alternative uniforms who nonetheless still contract secondary reactions while being near someone wearing the Twin Hill uniform.
Three, Aramark’s uniforms are made outside the US.
American wrote in a letter to its employees:
“While the alternative options currently offered are helpful for some, we know these alternatives may not fully resolve each and every team member’s issues. We continue to have full confidence that the current uniforms are safe, and we know that the vast majority of team members have not had any issue with them.
"However, we recognize that some still have concerns about the current collection, so today’s news is about providing a fourth uniform option in addition to the three options we provide today in standard wool, polyester and cotton.”
It added: “We know that the days of wearing one uniform for twenty years are long gone. So, you can expect us to continue to add and improve upon the collection as we move forward. We also know the uniform issue continues to be on your minds.
"Please know we all share the same goal: Each and every one of our team members should feel safe and comfortable in the uniform they wear. We believe the option outlined today is a positive step towards achieving that goal.”