An official with XPO Logistics said Monday that all of the hourly employees at its warehouse here that is set to close this spring will be offered new jobs at another one of the company’s local facilities.
The approximate 400 employees at the company’s Verizon-contracted warehouse here received letters earlier this month saying that the warehouse would permanently close because of an “overall business model change initiated and completed by our customer.”
Workers expressed concern that the closing was retaliation in response to the company recently gaining national attention after allegations of pregnancy discrimination, sexual abuse, and poor working conditions were brought forth by employees. XPO denied those claims.
Now, the company guarantees that all the hourly employees working at the warehouse, which make up about 90 percent of the workforce, will be offered new jobs in one of the 11 nearby XPO-run facilities here, said Erin Kurtz, XPO’s senior vice president of communications. Kurtz said the company is also working to find jobs for the remaining salaried employees at XPO facilities here. The company will “make every effort” to accommodate employee’s location preferences.
“Getting our employees new jobs was our goal all along, but we had to take inventory to evaluate what was possible with our other sites in Memphis,” Kurtz said. “Happy to report, that we will offer all hourly employees a new role and will maintain the hourly wage rate.”
Kurtz also confirmed Monday that the independent investigation by Tina Tchen of Buckley Sandler’s, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in unique litigation, counseling, and crisis management skills, into the allegations is completed.
Tchen said in her report that the company did have a policy in place that requires providing reasonable accommodation for pregnant employees when medically required, but that she recommends additional procedures, education, and training of supervisors and workers.
She adds that XPO’s new Pregnancy Care Policy, which took effect in January, is “one of the most progressive in place around the country.”
“In particular the type of accomodations reportedly requested in the press accounts under the new policy can now be put into place automatically without medical documentation of need,” Tchen said. “The company has also been engaged in a robust training and education process to ensure all workers and supervisors know about this new policy and how to apply it.
“Overall, I found that XPO, as this response demonstrates, to be a company that is working to enhance workplace culture and support its employees.”
The news came the same day U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen sent a letter to the company’s CEO Bradley Jacobs to follow-up on concerns raised last year regarding allegations of mistreatment of employees in light of the warehouse closing.
“We are also concerned about allegations that the Memphis warehouse closure could be connected to the aforementioned incidents,” reads Cohen's letter. “It is our top priority to ensure that workers in XPO Logistics facilities are not put at physical risk or risk of discrimination.”
The letter asks for answers to six questions, some of which the company seemed to answer Monday:
What are the results of Tina Tchen’s internal review of the company culture and policy?
What is XPO’s new pregnancy policy and how does it differ from the policy that was in place when the alleged incidents took place?
What policies are in place at XPO to prevent and adequately address sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases?
Who was responsible for deciding to close the XPO warehouse in Memphis?
What specific steps are being taken to assist workers being laid off in Memphis?
What steps will XPO take to ensure that workers are protected at the new facility planned to open here in May?