Union distributes survey to determine number of pilots affected by new garments.
Flight attendants and gate agents are no longer the only ones claiming to be affected by American Airlines’ new choice of uniforms. Bloomberg reports that the Allied Pilots Association (APA) will survey 15,000 pilots working for the airline to determine how many have also experienced negative effects from wearing new garments assigned by the carrier.
Complaints about difficulty breathing and rashes directly attributed to the new uniforms date back to December 2016, less than three months after the items were distributed to employees. At the time, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants claimed over 1,600 flight attendants wearing the new garments experienced “headaches, eye irritation, itching, and respiratory problems.” Now, the APA claims approximately 100 pilots have also been adversely affected with similar health issues.
Combined, both unions say over 3,000 employees have been affected by the new uniforms. The airline claims the number is much smaller, with only 800 employees – including four pilots – raising concerns about their clothing.
To determine how big the problem is, the APA told Chicago Business Journal they would distribute a survey to unionized pilots about any physical reactions they experienced while wearing new uniforms. Officials for the pilots’ union say that this is beyond a matter of comfort and is now an issue of safety.
“[Pilots] have to be fit for duty,” APA spokesperson Dennis Tajer explained, according to Bloomberg. “If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change.”
A spokesperson for American said they would discuss the survey findings with the union, in order to come to a solution. However, this is not the first time unionized pilots have expressed frustration with the carrier this year. In March, the APA accused the airline of abandoning passengers at the gate to maintain on-time departures and filed a grievance over working fatigue. Prior to that, pilots affirmed a “vote of no-confidence” against airline chief executive Doug Parker.
[Photo: American Airlines]