On Sunday, American Airlines (AA) announced flight attendants will be permitted to wear “Black Lives Matter” pins on their uniform, an announcement that engendered anger among some of its employees.
Defending the policy, the airline stated, “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. American is truly committed to having an inclusive culture that is welcoming to all and a reflection of our country and world.”
“This is why American is so committed to creating a more tolerant and diverse team,” AA continued. “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.”
As the New York Post reported, one veteran female flight attendant emailed AA management over the new policy:
I take offense to this. Serious offense. My husband is a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer), as was my deceased father and as far as I’m concerned ALL LIVES MATTER. I am completely disgusted at the fact that we can’t show support for our GOD, our COUNTRY, our LEOs but when it comes to BLM organization (which is controversial in itself), American Airlines says that’s obviously different. And we can. How is that right? Well, I don’t feel included.
A male flight attendant echoed that if flight attendants don’t wear the pin, they will “be ostracized and labeled as racist,” calling Black Lives Matter “a terrorist organization that promotes violence to further their agenda.” He added, “If this pin is sanctioned, I will wear my NYPD pin supporting the police department.”
A third flight attendant told Fox News that if the BLM pins are permitted, they would wear a Trump pin to support the president. Fox News added, “In addition, the company is also working to design its own pin that will show its symbolic support of a diverse and inclusive work environment.”
Jill Surdek, the airline’s senior vice president for flight services, answered critics of the company’s new policy by saying, “American is truly committed to having an inclusive culture that is welcoming to all and a reflection of our country and world. One symbolic way to show our support is through a uniform pin. 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 produced, to recognize the significance of this moment in history, we are allowing people to wear a Black Lives Matter Pin.”
AA told the Post, “Our Christian, veterans and LGBTQ groups, for example, have developed their own pin that can be worn as part of the uniform,” adding that the BLM pin policy was “not as a political cause but as a universal cause about humanity and equality. Fundamentally, Black Lives Matter is an expression of equality … It doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter, rather that in our society black lives should matter and be valued the same as others. That’s not political.”
“Angry airline employees accused American of jumping on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon to keep up with rival Delta Airlines, which reportedly has designed its own BLM pin for its flight attendants to wear,” the Post noted.