APFA has been at the forefront in addressing the potential safety and health issues concerning the current uniforms since they were first introduced in 2016, and we have been successful in pressuring the Company to implement both short-term and long-term solutions. APFA mobilized immediately and dedicated staff and resources to understanding and solving this problem, including creating a web form so that Flight Attendants could report their suspected reactions to the Union, engaging a toxicologist, and sending out uniform pieces for chemical testing.
As we continued to demand a long-term solution, APFA also pushed the Company into adopting short-term measures: putting in place a call center and arranging for alternatives to the current uniform, including wearing previous uniforms, uniforms supplied by an interim uniform vendor, or certain retail items of clothing. Because of APFA’s efforts, any Flight Attendant who is concerned about the current uniform has the option of wearing something else. (Other work groups also benefited from our work.) In addition, in December of 2016, APFA filed a Presidential Grievance seeking a permanent solution to address the suspected problems with the current uniforms.
Most importantly, as a result of APFA’s early and persistent efforts, the Company has announced that it will replace the current uniform as soon as it is able to roll out a new uniform to all Flight Attendants. With input from APFA and Flight Attendants on the property, the Company has selected a different supplier, and it is actively working to get a new uniform approved, tested, and manufactured. We recognize that there will be a significant lead-up time needed to accomplish all of the necessary steps, but the process is well underway and it needs to be done right.
On Friday, we learned of AFA’s announcement that it intends to file a lawsuit, 60 days from now, regarding the uniform issue. The fact is, through APFA’s efforts from day one to get the Company to address the problem, our Flight Attendants are light-years ahead of where we would be if we had waited and now threatened to file a lawsuit two months from this late date. Of course, we want a new uniform to be distributed to all Flight Attendants as soon as possible, but it is just as important that the new uniform be one that Flight Attendants know is safe and reliable.
As we have said in the past, if you have concerns about your uniform, we strongly recommend that you seek out one of the available alternatives. If you have experienced a suspected reaction to your uniform, APFA highly encourages you to fill out a Uniform Reaction Report through the APFA website.
In addition, you should carefully document with your Flight Service Manager any and all occasions on which you experienced a uniform-related absence. You should also consider filing an IOD if you have experienced an injury or illness that you suspect is related to your uniform. If you have questions about filing an IOD, please contact the IOD Department at [email protected], the LAA Rep on Duty at [email protected], or the LUS Rep on Duty at [email protected].
APFA National Secretary