KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Truck drivers are critically important to make sure we all can get food, medicine and other essential supplies.
But two employees at XPO Logistics, an international trucking company with a depot in Kansas City, Kansas, claim truckers there aren't being adequately protected against the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the employees, who didn't wish to be identified for fear of losing their jobs, there's widespread concern among the roughly 300 people who work at the KCK service center.
"We all want jobs and we don't want to lose our jobs," an employee said. "We want the company to make money, because if they make money, we make money. But I don't believe that they're taking the proper precautions to keep us safe and keeping our equipment safe and providing us things to keep us clean."
One employee sent pictures to 41 Action News on Friday of an area with handheld computers, which multiple people share next to an empty bleach bottle that is supposed to be used to clean the computers.
An XPO employee said the company isn't providing cleaning supplies when forklifts and trucks are being shared nor it is enforcing social distancing when workers congregate in the break room.
Another concern the employee had is whether the deliveries truckers are currently making are necessary.
"A lot of the things that we deliver aren't food or medicine or supplies, so that kind of puts the rest of us at risk," the employee said.
A representative for XPO Logistics in KCK referred the 41 Action News Investigators to the company's corporate office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for comment, but nobody there answered the phone.
XPO Logistics' website does have a COVID-19 page, which touts that "our primary focus is safeguarding our employees."
As part of that focus, XPO Logistics said it has added two weeks of paid sick leave for affected people by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They came out with a policy to try to look good, but instead they're not letting anybody use it," the employee said. "They're treating everybody like they're taking advantage of the situation rather than actually getting them what they need. It's really quite terrible."
And it's not just XPO's center location in KCK.
According to an employee, the KCK center along with centers where KC-based truckers travel in Salina, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids have been temporarily closed for cleaning and then reopened.
However, XPO Logistics' Cedar Rapids center has been the site of multiple COVID-19 infections, including a trucker who came through the Kansas City area and later wound up hospitalized on a ventilator.
Employees have repeatedly expressed their concerns to management, our source said.
"They're very secretive about it and they're telling us everything is being taken care of and not to ask questions," the employee said. "This could be part of the reason why the numbers are going to be through the roof here in a couple of weeks. It's really kind of a scary situation."