- XPO Logistics will shut down the Memphis, Tennessee warehouse where six women miscarried after they allegedly requested lighter duty and were denied, according to multiple reports. Four of the miscarriages occurred in 2014, the year XPO acquired New Breed Logistics, which owns the warehouse.
- The stated reason for the closure is that Verizon, whose products are shipped from the warehouse, has decided to stop employing the facility. The warehouse will close in June and employee terminations will begin in April. A Verizon spokesperson told the New York Times the company will continue to work with XPO at other sites.
- The warehouse employs roughly 400 workers, most of which XPO says will be shifted to other local facilities. “Our presence in the Memphis community remains strong, and we have new jobs available for the majority of these employees in our 11 other local facilities,” Lissa Perlman, an XPO spokeswoman, said in a statement Thursday as reported by the Times. XPO and Verizon both told the New York Times that the decision was unrelated to the controversy.
After the original report was published in the New York Times, a series of actions and responses came from both the U.S. Congress and XPO.
In the House of Representatives, 100 members sent a letter to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, calling for an investigation into the pregnancy discrimination in question, in addition to issues of alleged pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, suppression of efforts to organize, misclassification of truck drivers and unsafe and hazardous working conditions.
"Hundreds of thousands of workers could be at risk at XPO Logistics facilities if the aforementioned allegations are accurate," the letter reads. No hearings on the matter have been scheduled.
Since the two letters from Congress, XPO published several statements somewhat related to labor conditions. Just this week, XPO announced "free, comprehensive supplemental care for new parents and expectant mothers."
In conversations with Supply Chain Dive in December, XPO declined to comment on what the company knew about working conditions prior to acquiring New Breed Logistics in September 2014. The Teamsters union sees the withdrawal as a further injury on the local community, with Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa calling the decision a "disgrace."
"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 a statement released by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. "In return, XPO and Verizon are shutting down our facility and cutting our jobs. I will not be intimidated by these corporate bullies."
Closing the site may prevent any future incidents from occurring at this facility, but it likely won't tamp down the controversy over working conditions at XPO.