American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has ruled out a total uniform recall saying, “It could take years to get a whole new line of uniforms ready to roll out.”
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has publicly admitted something that thousands of the airline’s rank and file employees already knew – the ongoing uniform crisis at the world’s largest carrier is “as difficult an issue as we’ve ever had to deal with.” Speaking at a town hall style meeting with employee representatives, Parker told workers that his management team was searching for solutions to the worsening predicament.
“So we’ve got to figure out how to address it,” Parker said in recorded comments obtained by The Chicago Business Journal regarding the controversial new uniforms. “But we can’t keep it like this.”
Faced with mounting evidence that the recently rolled-out employee uniforms are related to a spate of health problems, the airline agreed to allow some workers to purchase their own look-alike replacement uniforms. The company said that it will reimburse employees for the cost of replacing their workwear, but labor leaders say this stopgap solution falls short of putting the issue to rest.
In part, because of the close quarters of their work environment, flight attendants continue to report uniform-related health issues including hives, respiratory distress and persistent rashes, despite choosing to wear authorized look-alike uniforms.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) which represents American Airlines’ nearly 25,000 flight attendants is funding extensive chemical testing of the controversial work uniforms and is logging health complaints from its members. So far, nearly 3,000 represented flight attendants have reported suspected uniform-related ailments.
The APFA has called on American Airlines to recall the suspect uniforms outright. Doug Parker dismissed this notion at last week’s town hall employee gathering. “That can’t be the answer; we’ll keep working through it,” Parker said, noting that “It could take years to get a whole new line of uniforms ready to roll out.”
[Photo: American Airlines]