American Airlines will change uniform suppliers after employees complained the uniforms were causing reactions from hives to wheezing.
The airline debuted new uniforms for its 70,000 employees last September after a long-awaited testing period. The flight attendants' union, however, says it has received more than 3,500 complaints about bad reactions.
Now, the company is renewing its search for another new supplier.
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In a statement released Wednesday, the company said the current uniforms are "safe" for the majority of team members but that the current choices are "not a sustainable path going forward."
The company will continue with the current design and continue to partner with Twin Hill, a division of Houston-based Tailored Brands Inc., but search for a new supplier to produce the uniforms with a different fabric. American also said it's now letting employees wear older uniforms, from before the 2016 revamp, if they prefer.
The company's statement added that the airline will "continue to offer a variety of options including standard wool, polyester and 100-percent cotton," and there is "an off-the-shelf option available for an independent supplier," which has been an option for years and has been worn by some employees.
The company said it plans to regularly update uniforms as trends change.
Twin Hill said the "alleged reactions" involved only a small portion of the airline's employees. The company said it had not been given any evidence linking the uniforms to employees' symptoms, but it agreed to part with American rather than face costs and risk to its reputation from "continued unfounded allegations about the safety of our garments."
The plan is for all American Airlines employees to have a desirable option to wear to work by the fall.