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American Airlines flight attendants protest sick policy, toxic uniform

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American Airlines Dallas Airbus A321
American Airlines Airbus A321 and Boeing 757-200 at DFW
Airport.

AP

  • American Airlinesflight attendants are
    protesting the company’s new, more stringent sick policy and
    the ongoing trouble with uniforms that employees say are
    toxic.
  • Some flight attendants are unhappy with the airline’s
    new sick policy, which they call “extremely punitive” in light
    of the health issues that they claim have been brought on by
    American’s uniforms.
  • On October 1, American Airlines and US Airways flight attendants will
    work under the same collective-bargaining agreement.

On October 1, American Airlines and US Airways flight attendants
will work under the same collective-bargaining agreement since
the two carriers merged in 2013 to form the “new” American. 

However, a new attendance policy set to get into effect along
with the collective-bargaining agreement has led some of
American’s flight attendants to protest.

The policy’s stricter regulation of sick days, compounded by the
airline’s ongoing trouble with uniforms that employees say are
toxic, has led to pushback from the Association of Professional
Flight Attendants, the union that represents more than 27,000 of
the company’s cabin crew.

On Thursday, American Airlines flight attendants gathered in
front of the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, to
protest the policy change. 

“It’s time for our company to wake up and understand
exactly what’s going on with their 27,000 frontline employees,”
Lori Bassani, national president of the APFA, said in a
statement. “We are sick from toxic uniforms, sick from cabin fume
events, and sick of being given the run-around with the flawed
implementation and improperly programmed new scheduling
systems.”


American Airlines flight attendants protest sick leave
American Airlines flight
attendants protest.

APFA

According to Bassani, the airline’s new attendance policy, which
governs sick leave, is “extremely punitive and does not take into
account the unique working conditions flight attendants endure
daily.”

“We are exposed to ill passengers,
foreign foodborne illnesses, toxic cabin air, unhealthy
sleep patterns, radiation exposure, and flight attendants cross
multiple time zones, to name just a few,” she added. 

In a statement to Business Insider, American Airlines
said:

“Our new, combined attendance policy recognizes that life
happens and provides our flight attendants with latitude to
manage their time away from work. At the same time, it encourages
attendance accountability which ensures we’re appropriately
staffed to provide our customers with the great service they
expect and deserve when flying American.”


American Airlines protestAPFA

Since late 2016, American Airlines flight attendants have
complained of severe allergic reactions including extreme
respiratory distress, nausea, headaches, cognitive issues, and
full-body rashes attributed to the company’s uniforms. 

According to a 2017 lawsuit filed by more than
100 of the airline’s flight attendants
, chemicals such
as formaldehyde, toluene, cobalt, cadmium, captafol, chromium,
copper, nickel, antimony, benzyl benzoate, hexyl cinnamic
aldehyde, and benzaldehyde have been detected in the
fabric.

The APFA claims it has received notice of more than 3,500
cases of suspected health reactions tied to the uniforms, which
will be replaced in 2020.  

If you’re an American Airlines employee and you have a
story to share, reach out to this reporter at [email protected]

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