Delta Grounds Flight Attendants Over Uniform Reactions
Delta Air Lines introduced a new, eye-popping, purple uniform design in 2018 on the tail-end of a huge wardrobe malfunction at competitor American Airlines in which employees reported a myriad of health problems related to chemicals present in the fabrics used to construct the outfits. Eventually, American was forced to scrap the uniform and start over with a new supplier after a long period of denying the extent and severity of the company’s uniform situation.
Delta assured its employees and the public that the company had taken appropriate measures to prevent a similar uniform disaster by closely monitoring the sourcing and manufacturing process.
Since the introduction, we’ve been learning of a growing number of Delta flight attendants that are experiencing reactions to the new Zac Posen designed pieces they were issued last year. As more crew-members have reported the problems ranging from skin reactions to breathing problems, Delta management has become increasingly less understanding or flexible.
Delta’s “Rules of the Road”
In the beginning, some flight attendants were told they could switch to generic black business attire while the company developed a plan to address the situation but now Delta has informed these same employees that they either put on the purple or else.
Flight attendants seeking assistance from managers, who they have been told they can trust, are being immediately pulled from service. Once removed from flight status, they are then dropped into an exhausting disability-benefits gauntlet which eventually leads to a “career decision” situation. In other words, it appears Delta has opted to deploy a clever strategy designed to make their expanding uniform issue disappear while simultaneously ridding the company of sick and often more-senior flight attendants.
Here is what happens to flight attendants, we’ve spoken to, who report health related uniform issues to their manager:
- Removed from service
- Told to put in for disability and contact Sedgwick — a company contracted by Delta to minimize the cost of employee absences, on-the-job injuries etc.
- Progressed to being offered the choice to quit, retire, or retrain for a lower paid, non-flight position
As we hear from Delta flight attendants, we are referring them to a law firm that has offered to assist with their situation.
Related: There is also a large group of Delta flight attendants involved in a lawsuit regarding discrimination.
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Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants Picket Airline For A Living Wage
Over 20 Air Wisconsin flight attendants picketed at the airport of Appleton, Wisconsin, which is home to the regional carrier that pays many of them as little as $15,000 a year and bases them in some of the most expensive areas of the country.
“To live in Washington DC on these wages is nearly impossible. People may say for me to get another job, but someone will still have to work for $15, 000 a year in Washington DC! What management is doing to hard working people is not right!” — Air Wisconsin flight attendant
“They are living in poverty wages,” said Toni Higgins, an Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International staff representative and former flight attendant to USA Today Network-Wisconsin
Ernie Lazernick, president of the Air Wisconsin unit of AFA-CWA to USA Today—
“A lot of them end up working extra jobs, so they’re working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet and pay their health care bills and food and lodging and their rent,” she said. “They want to take good care of their passengers and when you’re stressed about not being able to pay your bills, it’s really hard on them.”
“The airline industry has been very profitable over the years, and it’s their time to increase (flight attendants’) wages to a living wage.”
Lazernick pointed out that although AirWis management has refused to raise the pay of flight attendants since 2007, they have been offered bonuses.
Ernie Lazernick, president of the Air Wisconsin unit of AFA-CWA, said flight attendants are guaranteed 70 hours a month with a starting pay of $17.51. The company has so far responded with an offer of a 1.8 percent raise, and a subsequent offer of 2 percent.
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