A Phoenix based American Airlines flight attendant has served AA CEO Doug Parker with a cease and desist this morning demanding the recall of all Twin Hill uniforms due to health concerns. The press release notes the following:
The demand letter comes as American Airlines employees continue to report illness linked to carcinogenic chemicals found in the new uniform, manufactured by Twin Hill. Despite reports of rampant sickness, American Airlines has so far refused to recall the Twin Hill uniform currently in use by Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Representatives. In 2011, Flight Attendants at Alaska Airlines received new uniforms from Twin Hill. About 10% of workers reported chemical related illness. Alaska recalled the uniform out of an abundance of caution. In a lawsuit brought against Twin Hill in 2013 by 164 Flight Attendants, they claimed the use of Disperse Orange 37/76 caused the chemical illness. In 2016, courts ruled in favor of Twin Hill as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] found no evidence uniforms were capable of causing the injuries reported.
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 cause headaches, hives, rashes, and respiratory issues.
The Chicago Business Journal reported on 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:
“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.
FULL Cease & Desist Below…
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CEASE & DESIST DEMAND
May 22, 2017
Via Electronic Mail
Via Federal Express with Delivery Receipt
Mr. William Douglas Parker Chairman & Chief Executive Officer American Airlines
4333 Amon Carter Boulevard Fort Worth, Texas 76155
Re: Twin Hill Uniform
Mr. W. Douglas Parker:
As you are aware, in September of 2016 American Airlines [American Airlines, Et Al., the company] distributed new uniform s manufactured by Twin Hill Corporate Clothing [Tailored Brands, Et Al., Twin Hill] to Pilots, Flight Attendants, Customer Service Agents, and Premium Service Representatives. Since the rollout, thousands of employees have reported illness originating from chemical exposure.
Illnesses reported include dermatological disorders, respiratory peril, renal failures, cardiological distress, and diminished cognitive abilities.
Testing on newly manufactured uniform items conducted on behalf of American Airlines took place April 1, 2015 & April 5, 2016 by Intertek Group PLC [Intertek]. Intertek is not an Oeko Tex certified lab.According to American Airlines, these tests yield no explanation to employee illness, albeit a substantial presence of carcinogenic chemicals was found in the uniform [see attached chart & table]. Despite the biochemical findings, American Airlines refuses to recall toxic Twin Hill uniforms.
Employees seeking remedy from the company have been offered a choice to wear the old ”blue” uniform, purchase a “mock gray” uniform from a department store, or wear an interim uniform option distributed by Aramark. Despite these offerings, thousands of employees’ still report illness on account of sensitized contact exposure to chemicals in the Twin Hilluniforms. Their exposure to the listed chemicals has caused long-term health complications. This sensitization precludes employees from carrying out their job duties safely and efficiently.
The company vehemently denies the existence of proximity reactions. In several video recorded employee meetings; Doug Parker, Hector Adler, and Robert Isom all state the issue is remedied with the offering of new uniform options. Thousands of employees’ state reactions persist despite wearing an alternative uniform option [old blue uniform, mock gray, Aramark]. Reactions occur via proximity to individuals and areas of aircraft that share space with employees still uniformed in Twin Hill garments. Documented proximity reactions reinforce facts documented in medical records and scientific studies that state chemicals in textiles have the ability to sensitize individuals who formerly wore toxic items. Facts documented in employee medical records thwart executive team [Parker, Adler, Isom] denial regarding proximity reactions.
A pattern of sedition towards Pilots, Flight Attendants, and Representatives came to light early on as identified by the consistent denial of medical claims and leaves of absence by American Airlines. The company denied workers who sought leave utilizing FMLA [Family Medical Leave]; even though doctors pinpoint the cause of illness as being chemicals in the uniform fabric.
Additionally, Sedgwick rejected any Injury On Duty claim filed with the company that detailed ‘uniform’in supporting documents of the injury. Many employees face disciplinary action as a result of absence attributed to uniform related illness.
The union representing Flight Attendants, The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, [APFA] retained laboratory services from Oeko-Tex certified Hohenstein Institute to independently test the uniform after Intertek in 2016. Hohenstein tested a full complement of newly manufactured men’s and women’s’ garments. In their testing, Hohenstein found many of the same and new carcinogenic chemicals. Further, they detected metals in some garments and dangerous levels of Cadmium inthe short sleeve jacket.
The APFA attempted to reach a joint testing protocol agreement in May of 2017 with American Airlines.The company would not agree to administer testing on uniform items that originated from employees who reported reactions and illness.American Airlines also stated that APFA would be required to agree with the scientific interpretation of the tests carried out before testing commenced.
Union representatives of the Pilot workgroup , Allied Pilot Association [APA] , recently disclosed a memo sent to the company 24 months ago that detailed illnesses were originating from the uniform during the initial wear test. The APA ultimately recommended the company change uniform manufacturer. The company ignored the reports and request for a change in vendor; instead, continued with production of the uniform with Twin Hill.
During a recorded employee meeting, American Airlines pilot Joe Catan stated to American Airlines President Robert Isom regarding the uniform, “I do not have a safe environment in the cockpit.” Mr. Catan’s startling statement put the company on notice. This statement reinforces the need for immediate action as the safety of not only employees but passengers is at imminent risk of injury or death as a result of incident or accident.
By and large, American Airlines has failed to provide reasonable accommodations and safe working conditions for employees. Because of the advanced and present knowledge the company has regarding health dangers the uniform poses, it is evident American Airlines continues to willfully exhibit grossly negligent behavior towards its workforce and is continuing to recklessly endanger the health of passengers and employees who come into contact with a Twin Hilluniform, either directly or passively.
Hence, for the safety of passengers and employees, American Airlines, Et Al. is instructed to immediately cease the use of garments manufactured and distributed by Twin Hill. Further, American Airlines is instructed to desist any further use of Twin Hill garments in future uniform distributions. Failure to comply will result in appropriate legal steps including relief in a court of law.
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