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Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Since the roll out of the current uniforms in the fall, APFA has received reports from over 3,500 Flight Attendants regarding suspected health reactions to the uniforms. APFA sprang into action. As we have said repeatedly: no Flight Attendant should have to wear a uniform that is suspected of causing a health reaction or that causes Flight Attendants anxiety about its safety.
APFA mobilized immediately to raise this basic health and safety issue with the Company and press management to address the issue. From the start, we dedicated staff and resources to understanding and solving this problem. Among other things, APFA created a web-based reporting form so that Flight Attendants could report their suspected reactions to the Union, engaged a toxicologist and sent out uniform pieces for chemical testing. Along the way, we succeeded in getting the Company to put in place a call center and to arrange for alternatives, including uniforms supplied by an interim uniform vendor, so that any Flight Attendant who is concerned about the current uniform has the option of wearing something else.
In December, APFA filed a Presidential Grievance seeking a permanent solution to address the suspected problems with the current uniforms. Since then, APFA has repeatedly demanded and pushed the Company for a permanent, long-term solution.
Today, APFA is pleased to announce that we have achieved just that: the Company has announced that it will transition all Flight Attendants and other airline employees to a new uniform provided by a new uniform supplier.
This important achievement is due to the hard work and persistence of many people at APFA as well as Flight Attendants’ cooperation in submitting detailed uniform reaction reports to APFA. We look forward to a time soon when everyone can go to work in a uniform and work environment in which they have confidence.
The process of selecting a new vendor, testing new uniform pieces, and rolling out a new uniform for everyone will take time—2 to 3 years by the Company’s estimate. But make no mistake: APFA will be involved at every step along the way to protect Flight Attendants’ safety, and we will keep our foot on the gas to make sure that the Company arranges to get the new uniforms in place as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we strongly recommend that you order an alternative uniform if you have concerns about the current uniform and have not already done so. We also urge you to continue to report any suspected reactions that you have regarding the current uniform to APFA. APFA will continue to investigate and monitor any safety issue regarding the current uniforms so long as Flight Attendants continue to wear them.
We could not have achieved this important turning point if it were not for the perseverance and participation of all Flight Attendants. This is not the first time—and it won’t be the last time—that effective and determined advocacy by APFA members has led to improvements to our working conditions. This is why APFA is here—because together, we make our workplaces better.
APFA National Secretary