TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Some employees in the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex now have a little flexibility when it comes to workplace attire.
OC-ALC Commander Maj. Gen. Jeff King and American Federation of Government Employees Local 916 President Jeremy Ross signed a Memorandum of Agreement Aug. 31 that allows employees who work in industrial areas to wear cropped pants or shorts where appropriate and not prohibited by safety directives or the Industrial Hygiene Survey. Though the MOA specifically covers bargaining unit employees, the same rules apply for those not in the union.
King said this is the right thing to do.
“The safety of our workforce is a top priority, and relief from the heat is an important factor. Comfort is a key consideration as well,” he said. “I very much appreciate AFGE Local 916 collaborating on this policy change, and look forward to the widest implementation possible considering the hazards present in some work areas. We are also actively working on a shorts option for our military members, and hope to have a path forward in the near future.”
Ross agreed, saying this is a big win for the mechanics.
“The employees are really happy being able to wear shorts,” he said. “We appreciate the OC-ALC leadership working with us to make it happen.”
This change in work attire started as a test in 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group earlier this summer and quickly expanded to other groups within the complex.
William Baumann, 76th AMXG deputy director, said the ALC relied on legacy guidelines requiring long pants to protect legs for years when there was little data indicating a true safety hazard to exposed legs while accomplishing most maintenance tasks.
“The move permitting wear of short pants corrects this ‘way we have always done it’ mentality, allows our mechanics more comfort while safely accomplishing tasks and helps protect them from the dangers of heat related injury while performing work during the hot summer months,” Baumann said. “It is truly a win – win.”
The OC-ALC Safety Office will have final approval as to specific tasks and work areas that are prohibited from wearing cropped pants or shorts.
“When we evaluated the risk associated with wearing short pants, we found that in many instances there was no additional risk to employees,” said Matt Mercer, chief of the OC-ALC Safety Office. “In those instances, this MOA gives employees the freedom to choose shorts if they prefer them. That made it easy to determine that short pants benefitted the employees without placing them at greater risk, which is really a great outcome.”
Shorts must be no higher than 3 inches from the top of the knee.
Revealing or see-through clothing, spaghetti strapped tank tops, halter tops, short shorts, mini-skirts, cut-offs, bare midriffs and clothing depicting lewd or offensive words or pictures are not appropriate.
Employees working in an office environment are expected to dress in appropriate business attire. Office areas not providing air conditioning will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Nikki Frazier from the 72nd Force Support Squadron Labor Relations Office said this MOA is a perfect example of the partnership between AFGE and leadership within the OC-ALC.
“They are constantly looking for ways to improve the work lives of our wage grade employees," she said.