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Allegations of Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination Dominate XPO Europe Annual Meeting as French Employees Strike

XPO Workers from U.S. and Spain Confront European Board about Toxic Working Conditions; French XPO Workers Walk Off the Job to Protest Gender Pay Gap, Show Solidarity with U.S. Workers
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Anjali Cadambi

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(LYON, France) – At XPO’s European annual general meeting (AGM) in Lyon today, a former Memphis-based XPO worker addressed the board of directors and shareholders about sexual harassment, gender discrimination and dangerous conditions in the workplace. She was joined by workers from Spain and leaders from unions throughout Europe and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters who raised concerns about the abuses and called for management to start resolving the issues. This came as XPO workers from warehouses across France went on strike to protest the company’s unwillingness to deal with a gender pay gap and show solidarity with workers who’ve experienced harassment and discrimination in the U.S. and other countries.

XPO Logistics is a $9 billion international company that packages and distributes products for Verizon, Disney, Nike, Home Depot, and other major retailers across the world -- including in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, U.K., and the U.S. Eight workers from Memphis, Tenn. who work at an XPO warehouse that services Verizon recently filed charges of sexual harassment and gender discrimination with the EEOC. In the filings, workers reported supervisors groped them, grabbed them and made relentless comments about their bodies. Workers also have the support of leading #TimesUp organizations who wrote a letter to Verizon and helped prompt the company to investigate conditions at its contracted XPO warehouses.

“I came to call on XPO to be transparent and clean house of sexual harassment and discrimination in its U.S. and global warehouses. In my warehouse in Memphis, XPO must commit to bringing on an independent party to assess and report incidents, and it must stop covering up complaints raised by workers,” said Tasha Murrell, a former Memphis XPO worker.

During the shareholder meeting, Murrell called on the board to personally visit with the women at the Memphis warehouse to hear about their grievances firsthand. She also asked the board if there was a system in place at XPO that communicated every sexual harassment complaint to them on a regular basis.

The workers handed the board and meeting attendees a report detailing systemic discrimination at XPO in Spain. The report, ‘Women’s Wellbeing at XPO,’ describes gender bias at an XPO warehouse that handles an Amazon contract -- including evidence that women are paid less than and not given the promotion opportunities of men, and find their skills and experiences ignored.

Veronica Silvera, a union representative for the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) in Spain, told shareholders “When experienced logistics workers enter XPO, there are conditions they've never seen before in their lives. The discrimination, precariousness and abuses XPO Logistics employees suffer are a strong reason enough to call for immediate measures to put in place decent conditions for workers of a 21st-century logistics company.”

“This report shows a shocking record of discrimination at XPO. The company is paying women less than men for doing the same job. Women are hiding pregnancies because they fear dismissal,” said Valerie Latron, a member of the International Transport Workers Federation, CDFT union member and a representative of the ITF women’s committee. “XPO is undermining women’s wellbeing, their finances, their rights and their dignity.”

“We are proud to support a global effort by XPO employees who are speaking out about sexual harassment and standing up for women facing dangerous conditions on the job,” said James P. Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “XPO’s board and shareholders must look closely at XPO’s global record on sexual harassment and its toxic culture and ask hard questions of the company’s plans to resolve these issues. It is well past time for XPO’s CEO and board to correct course and do right by the workers that keep company warehouses running smoothly.”

“The ITF is proud to support our brothers and sisters across the globe who are taking a stand against the shameful behavior by XPO,” said Steve Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation. “The board must take what was shared with them by our delegation very seriously and take decisive action to change their corporate culture to one that supports and values its workforce.”