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St. Louis NAACP sends Southwest questions over accusations of discrimination

ST. LOUIS – Allegations of discrimination against black employees at Southwest Airlines continue to be made by the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. They are starting a social media campaign called, “We fly southwest and we want to know why.”

This is the first time they are publicly listing questions they want answered. They cite one example an employee made on Facebook during the Ferguson unrest.

“We have to tolerate these n-words here at work, but if they come into our neighborhoods, we will shoot them,” said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the NAACP St. Louis chapter.

Pruitt said it’s one of 45 incidents involving management at the St. Louis Southwest station, either exhibiting or allowing intolerant behavior against African-Americans.

“We asked Southwest to look internally at their records to make certain what we found is accurate,” he said.

For first time Thursday, the organization listed 12 questions they want answered, including information from 2010 to 2017 on how many employees have been disciplined or fired. They're also asking if there have been any St. Louis station labor relations investigations.

“The questions we asked them for – that’s listed on statement,” Pruitt said. “They responded and said they would not give us a statement.”

Southwest Airlines has sent teams to St. Louis at least twice to investigate but, according to Pruitt, no word from the airline and no timeline for doing so.

“We have not heard back from Southwest as to any findings,” Pruitt said, adding that his organization has ongoing inquiries in nine cities and they won’t stop pushing for answers until they get them.

Southwest issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind. We take these accusations seriously, and as with any complaint we are conducting our own internal investigation. We sent a letter to the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP on July 18 and as of August 10, we have yet to receive a response.”