American Airlines is Making Black Lives Matter Pins for Crew Members, Upsetting Some Employees

American Airlines is creating special pins for crew members to wear to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.(Gene J. Puskar / AP)
By – American Airlines is making Black Lives Matter pins for crew members, upsetting some employees. Some crew think they won’t be allowed to wear pins in support of law enforcement.

American Airlines is creating special pins for crew members to wear to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.Fort Worth-based American Airlines told crew members over the weekend that the company was creating the special pins, following on a commitment from CEO Doug Parker to reexamine the company’s diversity efforts and be more supportive of employees of color. Competitor Delta Air Lines released its own pins last week for crew members, prompting American’s employees to ask for something similar.

Until then, crew members can wear other Black Lives Matter pins.

“Our Black team members saw the Black Lives Matter pin being worn at other airlines and companies and asked if they could do the same,” said American Airlines spokeswoman Sarah Jantz. “In light of the appropriate attention to lives of Black Americans, we will allow team members who wish to wear a Black Lives Matter pin to do so if they choose.”
But according to a report in the New York Post, some flight attendants are asking American why they can’t wear Blue Lives Matter pins, a movement that started in response to criticism of police treatment of Black people.

According to the report in the Post, which didn’t identify those making complaints, some staff members have sent letters to company leaders saying the move offends those with family members in law enforcement. Another said crew members who don’t wear pins will “be ostracized and labeled as racist.”

American Airlines has not approved a similar pin for support of law enforcement.

“Fundamentally, we believe Black Lives Matter is an expression of equality, not a political statement,” Jantz said. “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. We are showing our support for our Black colleagues and customers who have experienced discrimination and injustice, not any particular organization.”

The decision underscores American Airlines’ belief that “all people, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity, deserve to be treated with equality and respect,” Jantz said.

American Airlines keeps close tabs on what kind of pins crew members are wearing and only approves pins for a select group of social causes. Among those are employee resource groups for veteran, Christian and LGBTQ employees, as well as charities such as UNICEF and the WINGS Foundation.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines does not allow employees to wear “items that support one particular cause,” said spokesman Chris Mainz.

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