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Some American Airlines Flight Attendants Allegedly Decry Decision to Allow Black Lives Matter Pins

Some American Airlines Flight Attendants Allegedly Decry Decision to Allow Black Lives Matter Pins

Some American Airlines flight attendants have allegedly taken offence to the carrier’s decision to allow staffers to wear Black Lives Matter pins on their uniforms. The airline already officially allows several other uniform pins to be worn by frontline employees, including in support of LGBTQ rights and others that signify membership of a trade union.

But a number of flight attendants have decried the decision, saying the BLM movement has become divisive and anti-police. Like many U.S. airlines, American Airlines has publicly supported the movement, saying recent events have demonstrated an urgent need for systemic change.

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“Clearly we live in a time where it is so important to have a dialogue about this important issue of racism in our society and try to find common ground,” read a memo from American’s head of in-flight service, Jill Surdek.

“American is truly committed to having an inclusive culture that is welcoming to all and a reflection of our country and world,” the memo continued.

“This is why American is so committed to creating a more tolerant and diverse team. Through our partnership with American’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we are continuing to work through an overall plan for addressing these issues in our workplace. One symbolic way to show our support is through a uniform pin. As we have with several other EBRG’s we are working with our Black Professional Network on designing a specific pin that may be worn with the uniform.”

“In the interim until this pin is introduced, to recognize the significance of this moment in history, we are allowing people to wear a Black Lives Matter pin,” the memo concluded.

Delta Air Lines has already produced a Black Lives Matter pin for employees to wear on their uniform without incident.

But one long-serving American Airlines flight attendant is said to have fired off an email to airline management saying she was “disgusted” with the decision. The email, obtained by the New York Post, criticized American for allegedly banning flight attendants for showing support for their religion or the police.

Another flight attendant feared employees who choose not to wear the BLM pin will be ostracised and labelled racist.

In response, American said specific pins had already been developed and approved for Christian groups and veterans. “It doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter,” a spokesperson for American said of BLM. “Rather, that in our society black lives should matter and be valued the same as others. That’s not political.”

In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning African Americans against travelling with American Airlines following a “pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers” who had flown with the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier.

The advisory, which warned African-American passengers they could face “disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions” when flying with the airline, was lifted in July 2018.

In the aftermath of the travel advisory, American Airlines rolled out implicit bias training to over 100,000 team members and set up a special customer relations team to deal with complaints that alleges any type of discrimination.