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Union Says 100 American Airlines Flight Attendants Have COVID-19

A union representing airlines employees reports that 100 American Airlines flight attendants have tested positive for coronavirus

According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the airline will begin providing face masks for front-line team members.

More than 27,000 union members will have the choice of wearing a mask, which will be distributed this week.

APFA president Julie Hedrick says the union has “been pushing the company since January” to provide protective equipment for flight attendants.

“We have consistently advocated for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all of our flight attendants to be available on every aircraft, for social distancing between passengers and crew jump seats, for thermal scanning in the airports, and to receive immediate notification of flight attendants who have tested positive for the virus,” Hedrick adds. “Flight attendants are aviation’s first responders, who are transporting medical personnel and supplies into COVID-19 hotspots, and they need to be treated and protected as such.”

American Airlines released a statement that reads, “The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority. We are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health officials and are coordinating with them on any required health and safety related measures. We continue to look at all ways we can care — and protect — our team during this stressful time.”

The union adds that only about one in four of its flight attendants will be flying next month, due to major cuts in the airlines’ schedules.

Meanwhile, TWU Local 556, a union that represents flight attendants of Southwest Airlines, alleges that “at least 600” of that carrier’s employees have tested positive for COVID-19. However, a Southwest spokesperson says those estimates are not accurate, and that the number of employees who tested positive is “far less.”

“The safety and well-being of Southwest’s employees and customers is our uncompromising priority, and Southwest continues to implement measures to maintain our aircraft cabins, airport locations, and work centers to the highest cleanliness standards, including following all CDC guidelines, during this unprecedented time,” an airline representative stated. “Currently, far less than 1 percent of more than 60,000 Southwest Airlines employees have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).”