David Reddick, the local NAACP president, publicly announced racial discrimination allegations against the depot during a Friday news conference at Anniston City Hall.
“We have had several (discrimination) instances on the Anniston Army Depot that we have to fight almost daily,” Reddick’s prepared speech read.
Reddick and local NAACP Vice President David Baker hope to appeal to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking federal officials to investigate the depot’s work environment and hiring practices.
Reddick was vague during Friday’s speech about what exactly led NAACP members to suspect the depot of discriminatory practices.
During an interview Monday, Reddick said that over the past six months about eight depot workers have filed harassment or racial discrimination claims with the NAACP.
Two of those employees work as welders at the depot, he said.
The first man filed a claim about fellow workers breaking into his locker at the depot and scrawling racial slurs on the locker door, Reddick said.
The second worker told NAACP members that a white employee snapped a whip at him during a recent workday, saying, according to Reddick, “Hey, doesn’t this remind you of the good ol’ days?”
Reddick said those are just a few examples of what the NAACP wants the Justice Department to investigate.
But Clester Burdell, public affairs officer for the depot, said in a statement Monday that both of those incidents have been investigated.
“With regard to the allegation regarding vandalism of a locker, an investigation was completed and revealed the verbiage was not racial in nature,” she said.
“ANAD has a zero-tolerance policy for violence, and offensive behaviors, to include horseplay,” she said.
Reddick said workers had originally filed harassment claims with the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees – the union that represents federal workers at the depot – but that nothing had come of their complaints, which is why they turned to the NAACP.
Reddick said he and Baker planned to meet with depot and union officials Monday evening.
But neither depot officials nor the president of the local union knew anything about a Monday meeting with the NAACP.
“I have not spoken with Mr. Reddick,” said Everett B. Kelley, local union president.
Kelley also noted that if depot employees had equal opportunity employment claims, they would have to be filed with the depot’s equal opportunity employment office, not the local union.
Moreover, depot officials were not aware that any discrimination allegations had been made until late Friday, after Reddick’s original news conference, Burdell said.
Burdell also said depot leaders, including the commander, deputy commander and chief of staff, had not heard of any meeting with the local chapter of the NAACP.
“But our commander takes matters like this very, very seriously,” she said. “Our commander certainly wants to make sure what is going on here reflects an equal opportunity employer.”
Burdell said there are policies against discrimination in place at the depot and that those policies are strictly enforced.
“We are an equal opportunity employer,” she reiterated.
Contact Star Staff Writer Cameron Steele at 256-235-3562.