Monday, December 17, 2018

Verizon Urged to Investigate Reported Misconduct at Memphis Warehouse

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2018 at 1:14 PM

click to enlarge Action in New York City - BERLINROSEN
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  • Action in New York City

Workers at XPO Logistics warehouse here, joined by ally organizations, rallied around the country last week to alert Verizon customers of the mistreatment of employees in the company’s contracted XPO distribution warehouse in Memphis.

XPO employees and members of the community greeted Verizon customers at over a dozen of its stores nationwide last week in an attempt to inform them of alleged poor working conditions and call them to action. Actions took place in Memphis, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., and other large cities.

“My coworkers and I were sexually harassed all the time with nowhere to turn,” Lakeisha Nelson, a worker at the Verizon warehouse in Memphis, said. “Our warehouse is an essential part of Verizon’s business, and it is high time that the company’s leadership helps us end supervisor sexual harassment and misconduct at XPO once and for all.”

Organizers also sent a letter to the Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and the company’s board of directors, urging action and an investigation into the claims of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Earlier this year, Verizon said they would investigate the claims of misconduct in the warehouse after receiving an initial letter from women civil rights groups asking for a meeting with Verizon officials to discuss next steps to end the mistreatment.

However, the stakeholders said Verizon has not met with them or updated the public since that time.

Now, in a second letter, the group is asking Verizon officials again for a meeting in order to discuss how the allegations will be addressed, as well as to receive an update into Verizon’s investigation into the sexual harassment allegations.

Various incidents of pregnancy discrimination, including refusals to allow pregnant employees to take on less strenuous tasks, leading to several miscarriages were brought to light in October by the New York Times.

Prior to those claims, employees at the same warehouse reported sexual harassment and unsafe, hazardous working conditions, including extreme heat. In the last year, more than a dozen XPO employees have filed Equal Employment Opportunity claims against the company relating to unsafe conditions.

These incidents “paint a disturbing picture of how workers are treated in its supply chain,” the most recent letter to Verizon reads.

“These allegations run contrary to the company’s Supplier Code of Conduct that upholds “ethical conduct in the workplace, safe working conditions,’ and ‘the treatment of workers with respect and dignity,’” the letter continued. “We urge you to take immediate action to ensure that all workers in your supply chain are treated humanely and not exposed to illegal working conditions.”

The letter was signed by the Memphis and Tennessee branches of the NAACP, A National Women’s Law Center, A Better Balance, SisterReach, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

This wave of actions comes after 97 House Members, including Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, urged the House Committee on Education and the Workforce earlier this month to investigate the many allegations of “disturbing treatment” of pregnant employees at XPO’s warehouses around the country.

Shortly after, XPO announced new policies and benefits that will provide increased support for pregnant employees, paid family leave, and 30 new types of wellness benefits for women and families.

Operating in 23 states, XPO Logistics is a $12 billion company that packages and distributes products for major retailers including Verizon.

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