To Quell Safety Concerns, American Airlines Execs Try On Controversial Flight Attendant Uniforms

Image courtesy of American Airlines

In a move that screams, “See? These uniforms are totally safe!” several American Airlines executives have started wearing the new wool outfits that have led to thousands of complaints from flight attendants who say the clothing is giving them hives and rashes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, about a half dozen executives and middle managers at the carrier have started wearing the uniforms to the office in an apparent attempt to show that the uniforms are harmless.

The airline didn’t name all those who have chosen to don the controversial clothing, but confirmed that Hector Adler, vice president for flight services, had ordered a uniform and is supposedly going to wear it soon.

The Association of Flight Attendants — which represents members from 18 airlines — says the whole thing is just an attention grab.

“It’s insulting. Instead of acknowledging legitimate concerns of their employees, American Airlines management is pulling a publicity stunt,” a spokeswoman for the group said.

The news comes a few days after the similarly named union representing American’s flight attendants — the Association of Professional Flight Attendants — formally filed a grievance over the uniforms, urging the airline to recall them and demanding it reimburse affected workers’ medical costs.

“These uniforms continue to put our members at risk, forcing them to use sick leave and affecting their overall health, plus potentially the health of their colleagues with whom they come in contact at work,” said APFA’s director, Bob Ross, at the time.

The airline has said it will work with the union to conduct a fourth chemical test on the uniforms, after it claimed previous tests showed no harmful chemicals in the clothing.

This isn’t the first time flight attendants have had issues with uniforms: in 2012, Alaska Airlines employees reported having adverse reactions to company clothing. It’s worth noting that those uniforms were made by the same manufacturer that produced American’s problematic garb — Twin Hill, a subsidiary of Men’s Wearhouse — the Times points out.

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