Philly's NAACP president and former employees accuse SEPTA of "toxic work environment"

- The president of the NAACP in the city says more people have come forward with claims against SEPTA. They say working for SEPTA is toxic, especially for people of color.

In the 3 days since Minister Rodney Muhammad accused SEPTA of having a “toxic work environment”—especially for people of color—he says complaints have more than doubled.

"We’ve experienced an avalanche of phone calls. I’m calculating right now roughly 25 for me," NAACP President Minister Rodney Muhammad said.

According to Minister Muhammad, that’s on top of the 18 complaints that prompted him to call the Sunday morning press conference where fired bus operator Tera Bryant spoke of poor management.

"I go show my director a good accommodation and he said it sounds like my mother wrote it who was deceased," Bryant said.

In a meeting with FOX 29 Wednesday, the head the local Transport Workers Union says Muhammad’s claims are not true. Unwilling to answer questions on camera, Local 234 President Willie Brown says the NAACP will end up with “egg on its face” by supporting the bogus claims of workers who were fired for cause: like missed work days and failure to attend mandatory counseling.

SEPTA also declined an on-camera interview, but says it’s “disappointed and confused” Muhammad held a press conference after it had two recent meetings with the him and a third still to be arranged.

In a statement SEPTA wrote:

“We are dedicated to ensuring fair treatment for all employees, and take seriously any claims regarding racism, employee abuse or unfair termination.”

Muhammad wants SEPTA’s top executive Jeff Knueppel to meet with fired workers, but the agency has refused. SEPTA says such a meeting is “not possible”, but in the age of #meto, Muhammad has upped the stakes.

"About 6 women have called about being sexual harassment when they will not give in to and comply with sexual advances they find themselves written that they feel targeted now," Minister Muhammad said.

SEPTA says 64% of their staff are minorities. They say they reached out to Minister Muhammad to talk again. 

On Monday, SEPTA released the following statement: 

“SEPTA has met with Mr. Muhammad twice in recent months, and we contacted him last week in hopes of setting up another meeting soon. SEPTA has strong safeguards in place to help ensure that our employees are treated fairly, including a multi-level hearing and arbitration process for anyone subject to discipline or discharge. We are prepared to investigate any allegations of unfair treatment that are brought forward by Mr. Muhammad.”

 

 

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