ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — The rift between Southwest Airlines and the St. Louis City NAACP continues to grow.
As KMOX first told you Tuesday, the NAACP is accusing the airline of fostering a discriminatory work environment at Lambert — things like miscalculated overtime, refusal to hire based on physical features and more.
The airline, which said in a statement that it’s aware of an investigation, has now allegedly issued a letter to Southwest employees at Lambert threatening termination if they talk to the media.
The following is what the letter allegedly said to employees, distributed to media from the NAACP:
“Just so everyone is aware the NAACP has launched an investigation against Southwest Airlines for discrimination against black employees here in St. Louis. DO NOT , I REPEAT, DO NOT TALK TO THE MEDIA THEY WILL BE IN AND OUT OF HERE FOR A WHILE. If they attempt to talk to you refer them to the TWU 555 Union Office and Southwest Airlines if they want comments. If you talk to the media they will fire you. Period.”
St. Louis chapter president Adolphus Pruitt says the group has verified the letter’s authenticity, but doesn’t know who authorized the distribution or the content.
Southwest has a different view of the letter.
“The Company would never issue such direction,” Southwest said in a statement to KMOX. “Comments like this are not reflective of our Core Values, Culture, or practices. Southwest has communicated with the NAACP and Southwest has committed to continue to partnering with the organization in an effort to support our St. Louis Employees.”