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New FedEx Uniforms Only Please Some

October 1, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ You can please some of the people, some of the time.

Just ask Federal Express Corp., which sought employee suggestions before changing its uniforms to reflect it’s compressed ``FedEx″ logo.

U.S. employees wanted wash-and-wear fabrics, while international employees preferred all natural fibers.

The company’s solution?

Compromise. One golf-style shirt will be made from a cotton-poly blend in the United States, while overseas it will be 100 percent cotton. Many of the other clothes, including button-down shirts and pants, will be made from a cotton-poly blend for employees worldwide.

The new navy blue uniforms for the 124,000 employees of the Memphis, Tenn.-based air freight company were designed by Stan Herman, who also fashioned the old FedEx uniform 14 years ago.

``Over 80 percent of employees said they wanted new, updated uniform components,″ said Gayle Christensen, managing director of FedEx’s corporate marketing. ``We are making the new uniforms bolder and more comfortable to meet the needs of the company’s employees.″

Survey or no, at least some of the employees are less than thrilled with the change, which reflect a more casual dress-code.

``Before I looked like a flight attendant. In the new uniform, I look like a postal worker and I resent it,″ said one Manhattan FedEx employee who did not want to be identified for fear of angering her superiors.

She had a list of other gripes as well. In the United States, there are no more skirts and jumpers for women. Women’s scarves, considered too formal, are being replaced with casual knit ties or the sporty look of a T-shirt or turtleneck beneath an open-collared shirt.

``I’ve always preferred the scarf, you can do more with it,″ the employee said Tuesday.

She gets at least some empathy from an employee at rival UPS.

He said he still misses his company’s blazer, which was phased out several years ago.

And, said the UPS employee who gave his name only as Max, while he likes the new FedEx clothes, he’s less than thrilled with the shortened name, which was officially changed two years ago but is only recently appearing in FedEx offices.

``FedEx sounds nice,″ he said, ``But I just don’t like the look of it.″

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