XPO Logistics is closing its Verizon warehouse here and some employees are calling it retaliation.
The employees were informed Wednesday via letters that they would be terminated as a result of the facility closing in June.
This is the same warehouse that’s recently gained national attention after allegations of pregnancy discrimination, sexual abuse, and poor working conditions were brought forth by employees.
About 400 employees currently work at the facility XPO plans to close.
In a letter to the warehouse’s employees, XPO said that it will be permanently closing the facility here because of “an overall business model change initiated and completed by our customer.”
“Consistent with this change, we anticipate there will be a need to have employment separations at the facility, commencing on April 15, 2019,” the letter reads. “We believe that these plans, when finalized, will be permanent and the entire facility will be closed.”
Employees will be terminated during a 14-day period beginning April 15th. The letter also details that the terminated employees will not be able to “bump or displace” other employees working for the company.
The termination letter was handed to employees on the same day that XPO announced new free benefits for new and expecting parents.
Workers, including Lakeisha Nelson, believe the move is 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,” Nelson said. “In return, XPO and Verizon are shutting down our facility and cutting our jobs. I will not be intimidated by these corporate bullies.”
A former employee at the Verizon warehouse, Tasha Murrell, had a miscarriage on the job and now she questions XPO’s previously stated intentions to change its policies.
“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,” Murrell said. “This should tell you how serious XPO is about changing its ways.”
President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters General, James Hoffa agreed, calling the closing “disgraceful.”
We have stood by these workers since the beginning in their fight to improve their working conditions at this XPO Verizon warehouse,” Hofa said. “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.”
However, a statement from XPO said the facility's closure is a result of a “business decision” made by Verizon.
“Our presence in the Memphis community remains string, and we have jobs available for the majority of these employees in our 11 other local facilities,” the statement reads.