Delta Air Lines employees are speaking out after they say the company’s new uniforms have given some of them rashes and breathing problems.
The airline unveiled its new line of uniforms for its employees last May. It didn’t take long for the excitement of the uniform launch to turn into concern from some of Delta’s 64,000 employees.
Three flight attendants spoke with NBC10 Boston on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs. They said the uniforms have made them sick and the airline has not been responsive in helping them out.
"I was experiencing breathing issues," an employee named Alex told NBC10 Boston. "My nose was running all the time. I was coughing and fatigued."
Alex said he believes the issues were caused by the new uniform, and he is not alone.
"I was tugging at my mock turtleneck at work, trying to get some air, and I just couldn’t get any and my hair was falling out," another Delta employee named Jordan said.
Some employees are speaking out on an online forum to share information about the rashes and burns they say they’ve gotten as a result of the uniforms.
One commenter posted a picture of a rash all over their neck and wrote, "I've had my uniform on for exactly 30 minutes..."
Another commenter said their face broke out after wearing a sweater set.
Delta has responded to the claims and said in a statement that it is working on a solution to the issue.
"We want our employees to be able to safely wear the new garments with pride. Although Delta and Lands’ End conducted in-depth testing during every step of development, a small number of employees have reported skin irritations. While less than one percent of employees in the new uniform program have reported issues, Delta takes this very seriously and is working directly with employees on solutions that meet their individual needs."
Some people have been allowed to wear an alternative uniform after they discussed their concerns. Others have not been as fortunate.
"At first, they were willing to help. But then after that, they became extremely stubborn with allowing me to get back to work and allowing me to get out of the uniform," a Delta employee named Bobby told NBC10 Boston.
Delta admits the company previously had problems with the "Passport Plum" color of the uniform. Some of the dye was rubbing off onto what it came into contact with. Towels, bras undershirts, seatbelts and even chairs were being stained after coming into contact with the clothing.
"When outfitting as many as 65,000 employees, issues with how different employees react to a garment can occur for a variety of reasons," said Lands' End, the company that worked with Delta on the new uniforms. "We take each concern seriously and we work closely with Delta to attempt to find a solution that enables the employee to have a uniform that is both comfortable and functional."
Bruce Maxwell, an attorney from Jacksonville, Florida, said he’s had dozens of Delta employees contact him with their issues with the new uniform.
"It's time for the wheels to be in motion to have some accountability," he said. "If Delta wants to have this family image amongst its employees, well, they need to treat them like that. Step up to the plate, do the right thing, acknowledge the problem and try to fix it."
Although he hasn’t filed a lawsuit himself, Maxwell plans to file worker’s comp claims for some flight attendants in Atlanta. Two Delta flight attendants have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Lands’ End, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, part of the CDC, says it is "currently in the beginning stages of collecting information for the health hazard evaluation request by Delta employees."