XPO, Verizon to Close Facility in Memphis, Workers Claim Retaliation
(WASHINGTON) – XPO workers denounced today’s announcement by XPO Logistics, Inc. that it will be closing its Verizon-contracted Memphis facility beginning April 15, 2019. With this closure, XPO and Verizon will walk away from a warehouse that was the subject of an Oct. 21, 2018 New York Times article that exposed pregnancy discrimination. The closure will take an estimated 400 jobs out of the Memphis community.
In a letter distributed to workers today, XPO states “the closure stems from an overall business model change initiated and completed by our customer [Verizon].” The letter outlines a 14-day termination period that will begin on April 15, 2019. However, XPO-Verizon workers believe that the closure is in retaliation for exposing sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination at the facility.
“My co-workers and I stood up and exposed the terrible conditions at the XPO-Verizon facility in Memphis, including sexual harassment, dangerous heat, pregnancy discrimination and worker abuses,” said Lakeisha Nelson a current worker at the XPO-Verizon Memphis facility. “In return, XPO and Verizon are shutting down our facility and cutting our jobs. I will not be intimidated by these corporate bullies.”
The New York Times front page expose detailed the harrowing tales of miscarriages after XPO refused to adjust the women’s work assignments. Additional charges of sexual misconduct were filed against the company by women in the facility.
“XPO wants to talk about how much it cares about pregnant workers, and then it lays off all the workers from the facility that brought these pregnancy problems to light,” said Tasha Murrell, an XPO worker who had miscarriage on the job. “This should tell you how serious XPO is about changing its ways.”
To add insult to injury, the closure was announced the same day XPO put out a press release promoting its new pregnancy policy – a policy that was developed as a direct result of the exposure of the pregnancy discrimination at the Memphis facility by the brave women who shared their experiences with the New York Times.
“We have stood by these workers since the beginning in their fight to improve their working conditions at this XPO-Verizon warehouse,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “I have spoken to these women and seen the pain and suffering XPO has put them through. For XPO and Verizon to now close this facility is disgraceful. We will continue to help these workers in their fight to keep their jobs.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.