New TSA uniforms making workers sick AFGE demands replacement

AccordingtoTSOswhohaveseentheirdoctors,thesepainfulconditionsarecausedbytheformaldehydeusedinthemanufacturingprocessoftheimporteduniforms.Formaldehyde–thechemicalusedforpreservingdeadanimalsandbodyparts–isusedbyclothingmanufacturerstopreventmildewandkeepthefabricstainandwrinklefree.AccordingtotheU.S.EnvironmentalProtectionAgency,formaldehydehasbeenshowntocausecancerinanimalsandmaycausecancerinhumans.TSOshavenoticedthatuniformsimportedfromMexicodonotseemtobecausingtherashesasopposedtothoseimportedfromHonduras.
TheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeesreportscomplaintsaboutthetoxicuniformsfromTSOsatBWIandinOakland,Tampa,andPalmBeach.SeveralTSOscontactedAFGEaftertheirmanagersrefusedtoprocesstheirworkers'compensationclaims.Somesaidtheyweretoldtokeepquietaboutthematter.
"Thisisunacceptable,"saidAFGEPresidentJohnGage."Employeeswhoareallergictothechemicalhavetherighttofileaworkers'compensationclaim.Itisahealthandsafetyissuethatneedstobeaddressed."
AFGEthisweeksentalettertoTSAAdministratorKipHawley,demandingthattheissuebelookedintoforpossibleviolationofDepartmentofLaborregulations.AFGEisalsodemandingthatTSAtellitsclothingcontractorVFSolutionstoimmediatelyrecallandreplacetheuniforms,whicharestillunderwarranty.TheunionisaskingthatTSOsbeallowedtoweartheirwhiteuniformsandthatTSAfacilitatethefilingofworkers'compensationclaimswiththeLaborDepartment.
"IunderstandfromKipHawley'srecentappearanceon60MinutesthatthenewuniformsareintendedtogiveTSOsamoreprofessionalimage.WhileIcansupportMr.Hawley'sintent,theimpactofthisdecisionisraisinglegitimatemedicalconcernsamongtheemployees,"statedGage."AFGEwouldbeabletonegotiatetheimpactofthisdecisioninacollectivebargainingenvironment."
TheunionhasalsofiledacomplaintwiththeOccupationalSafetyandHealthAdministrationabouttheissue.AFGEadvisesthatTSO’swhomayhaveanallergicreactiontothenewuniforms,contacttheAFGETSAHotlineat1-866-392-6832andgototheirdoctortohavethesymptomsdetermined.AFGEisalsoconductingasurveytogaugetheimpactoftheissue.
AFGEisthelargestfederalemployeeunionrepresentingmorethan600,000employeesacrossthecountry,includingtensofthousandsofDHSemployeesinagenciessuchastheU.S.BorderPatrol,CitizenshipandImmigrationServices,FEMA,andICE.TheseDHSworkersbenefitdailyfromthestrongcollectivebargainingagreementsAFGEisabletonegotiateontheirbehalf.Inthemonthsahead,AFGEisconfidentthattheObamaadministrationwillseethefollyindenyingbasicworkplacerightstoTSAemployeesandwillcorrectthislong-enduredinjustice.
Formoreinformationvisit:www.tsaunion.net.


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