American Airlines Workers Sue Uniform Manufacturer over Health Problems

CBS is reporting that 150 American employees have officially filed a lawsuit against Twin Hill, the manufacturer of the “new” uniforms that are now set to be replaced in 2020.

“Most of us washed our uniforms dozens of times to get rid of the chemicals but that didn’t work,” said Heather Poole, a plaintiff in the case. “We even soaked them in vinegar. Nothing worked. There was nothing we could do to insure we weren’t being exposed to poison.”

Twin Hill has already responded to the suit:

“The extensive uniform testing we have provided American was conducted by industry-leading, independent global laboratories — in sharp contrast to the anecdotal claims, speculation, discredited scientific arguments and leaps of logic we are seeing from certain American employees and union representatives to date.”

Interestingly, Twin Hill notes that Alaska flight attendants tried unsuccessfully to sue them as well over uniform related health issues.

Back in March, American announced that they had agreed to a deal with Aramark to provide an “off-the-shelf” uniform option for flight attendants and others who say the new uniforms previously rolled out by Twin Hill in September cause headaches, hives, rashes, and respiratory issues.

The Chicago Business Journal reported on the letter sent out by AA management:

“This will provide a new choice for team members who cannot wear the current uniform. And while not precisely identical to the current pieces, they are similar. These uniform pieces are also currently being worn by employees at several major hotel and hospitality companies without issue.”

Aramark already outfits AA’s tech ops group.

The new outfit pieces from Aramark will include a 100-percent polyester jacket with pant/skirt combination, a 100-percent cotton shirt in white or blue, and an acrylic/cotton blend zippered sweater in light grey. Dresses, vests and short jackets will not be part of the Aramark option.

One day later, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants issued as statement that AA’s Aramark offer was not enough, ultimately leading to AA’s decision to issue new uniforms entirely beginning in 2020. Employees were also told that they could use their old uniforms instead.

“Make no mistake; this new alternative uniform is not enough. It is an interim solution at best. 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.”

Flight attendants are also unhappy that the Aramark option does not include all pieces and options available with the original Twin Hill rollout. The fact that AA referred to those options as continuing to be safe also irked the flight attendants.

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