The flight attendants at American Airlines have been itching for new uniforms since late last year, and now they’re finally going to get them.
In response to thousands of complaints over their recently redesigned uniforms, American Airlines announced Monday that they will be providing new “off the shelf” alternatives from industrial clothing company Aramark. The new items which will be made from both polyester and cotton.
The company’s current uniforms, which reportedly contain wool, were first introduced in September. Within weeks, flight attendants were blaming their new gear for causing a variety of health issues, from hives and rashes to burning eyes and headaches.
Bob Ross, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (AFPA) union, considers the company’s concession to be a “victory,” reports Forbes.
“We were able to get the company to work with us and to recognize the problem and to search out avenues to mitigate it,” Ross said.
The AFPA first asked American to recall the problematic uniforms in November on behalf of its 25,000-plus members, more than 3,000 of which filed complains, according to Ross.
“The company recognized that our data collection was detailed and accurate,” he said.
Even after months of mounting complaints, the legacy carrier seemed hesitant to blame their wool-rich uniforms for the majority of the allergic reactions in a letter to the staff.
“We continue to have full confidence that the current uniforms are safe, and we know that the vast majority of team members have not had any issue with them,” wrote the airline, in a letter obtained by The Consumerist. “However, we recognize that some still have concerns about the current collection.”
Twin Hill, the company that manufactured the current uniforms, has also maintained that the clothing is safe. However, they have said they “fully cooperated with American’s decision” to provide Aramark alternatives.
“We hope this option resolves the union’s concerns,” Twin Hill wrote in a statement.
The AFPA has already told its members that they will continue to push for a permanent replacement uniform.
“It is an interim solution at best,” the union told members on Tuesday, reports The Dallas Business Journal. “APFA will continue to demand that the company find a permanent, long-term solution to ensure that all flight attendants have confidence in the uniforms that they wear.”
Meanwhile, American will distribute their limited-supply of Aramark uniforms to staff in “immediate need” first. More of the Aramark alternatives will be available in the fall.
A representative for American Airlines was not immediately available for comment.