American Airlines told employees on Wednesday that it plans to change its employee uniforms after some workers claimed the clothes were making them sick.
The airline first rolled out new uniforms for more than 70,000 pilots, flight attendants, and customer service employees last September.
It didn’t take long for the complaints to start coming in.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which is a union that represents flight attendants, said in a statement Wednesday that it had received more than 3,500 reports of “suspected reactions” from members of the union since the launch of the new uniforms, which are made by American and Twin Hill, a company that makes corporate uniforms.
However, while the union claims it has received more than 3,000 complaints, American Airlines previously told Business Insider that it had only received 14 reports from flight attendants about sensitivity to the wool-rich fabric used in the uniform.
American Airlines has provided alternative uniforms made with different fabrics to employees who reported to the company that the clothes were making them sick. However, in a letter to employees on Wednesday, American said that it would be changing its supplier and issuing new uniforms as a long-term solution to the problem.
“All of the testing to date confirms that the current uniforms are safe, and indeed, most team members wearing them do not have any issues doing so. Despite these efforts, it is clear we need a long-term solution because the current approach simply does not work. We now have team members in many different versions of the uniform and that is just not a sustainable path going forward,” the company said.
American said it is beginning the process of selecting a new uniform supplier, however, the whole process will take two to three years. The company also said that the new uniforms will be based on the current design, but will be made with new fabrics.
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