BLACK UPS EMPLOYEES ALLEGE CULTURE OF RACISM, HARASSMENT
By Erin White
March 15, 2019
Over in Toledo, Ohio, more than a dozen Black workers at a local United Parcel Service distribution center have filed a lawsuit against the center. Several employees claimed that managers promoted a racially hostile work environment, and subsequently declined to take action when hostile events occurred. In the suit, filed on Wednesday in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, 19 Black employees at the Maumee Location are claiming that white co-workers used the N-word, displayed Confederate flags, talked about attending KKK meetings, and even hung nooses around the office. Good lord.
In one instance, a woman named Pamela Camper says that a white female driver refused to deliver a package to a predominately Black neighborhood of Toledo, referring to it as “Nigger City” and “NiggerVille.” Even after reporting this exchange to higher-ups, the driver was never disciplined. UPS is claiming that it did fire the driver in question, but through arbitration, and despite UPS’s best efforts, an arbitrator reinstated the employee.
“I work with employees who I know don’t like my skin color, but yet, and still I have to deal with it,” Camper says. Camper says she has been working at UPS for 30 years, yet she still holds a part-time position. “I’ve been overlooked.”
“I cry every night because nothing has changed,” Camper says. “Not only do I cry for myself, I cried for the black employees that worked in that facility because I see it all.” 18 other Black employees named in the suit also alleged racial harassment and discrimination in the workplace, stating that management either ignored or encouraged racist behavior.
Another employee, Antonio Lino affirmed Camper’s accusation about being overlooked for promotions because of race, and has himself experienced racist threats there. “I walked into work, I set up like I normally do, and I just happened to look over my shoulder and it was a noose hanging over my workspace first thing Monday morning,” Lino says.
These are only two of the complainants. The lawsuit states that, “For decades, African-American employees of UPS have been subjected to a persistent and continuing racially hostile work environment. African-American employees are consistently subjected to racially driven and offensive comments, slurs, and ‘jokes,’ and subjected to hostile stares from white co-workers as well as increased scrutiny and demeaning comments from managers and supervisors.”
UPS has denied claims that their supervisors refused to take action in most, if not all, cases. But the stories of Camper and Lino are just two of nearly two dozen. Hard to imagine they’re all lying.