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Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Fellow Flight Attendants,
Since the introduction of the new uniforms for frontline personnel, employees across workgroups have reported suspected reactions to the new uniforms. As of today, nearly 2,200 Flight Attendants have reported reactions through our uniform reaction report form—with more coming each week. That represents nearly 8% of our workforce. This is a serious problem!
While I appreciate the Company’s willingness to proceed with further testing and allowing Flight Attendants the option of returning to their “blues,” I do not believe they are taking the problem as seriously as they should. As part of our effort to reach a successful resolution, I filed a Presidential Grievance today on behalf of Flight Attendants system-wide.
The goal of this Presidential Grievance includes giving all Flight Attendants the permanent option of self-choice between the old uniforms and the new uniforms with full reimbursement for replacements. If that proves impractical, the grievance asks that all of the new uniforms be recalled. The grievance also asks for other remedies that relate to sick, FMLA and IOD claims, among other things.
Despite the fact that the Company and APFA have each tested the uniform pieces independently, the results so far have been inconclusive. APFA is also now working on a protocol for joint testing to be conducted with the Company, and we have hired our own independent toxicology expert in order to formulate a testing plan. We have made it clear to the Company that we want to proceed with joint testing as soon as possible, but we will only agree to a plan for joint testing so long as we are satisfied that it is designed to be scientific, thorough, and it provides a means for collecting the data required to determine what is causing these reactions.
In the meantime, I ask all Flight Attendants to be vigilant: document every suspected reaction with photos, provide a full description, and report your reaction to APFA through the online report form. Additionally, please take photos of the tags of the uniform pieces that you suspect are causing a reaction. If you have a uniform piece that you suspect of having caused a reaction, please store the uniform piece(s) in a sealed plastic bag.
Keep a record of any doctor visit(s) or medication used or prescribed for your reaction. Report the reactions to the Company Call Center, as well. You will be authorized to wear either the non-wool alternative, the “blues,” or buy like-colored garments and have the purchase reimbursed. Be sure to keep the receipts for any uniform-related expenses, including medical bills.
APFA is committed to getting to the bottom of this problem and will work to protect the health and safety of all Flight Attendants.
APFA National President
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