Amazon labor organizer Smalls arrested, faces trespass charge after dropping off food for workers -Breaking
Julia Love and Jeffrey Dastin
(Reuters] – Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:) Christian Smalls, a labor organizer for Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:), was detained Wednesday by the New York City Police Department. He was accused of trespassing upon company property.
Smalls was a former Amazon employee who had started dropping food off for workers in preparation of the high-profile union elections he leads at Staten Island’s warehouse. Seth Goldstein is a pro bono lawyer representing Smalls group, known as Amazon Labor Union.
According to the NYPD’s Lieutenant John Grimpel, security for the retailer called the police and said there were trespassers. This led to three people being charged, including Smalls, for obstruction of governmental administration.
According to him, Smalls faced additional charges for resisting arrest as well as trespass.
Smalls couldn’t be reached for comment immediately. Amazon didn’t immediately respond.
The organizer, 33 years old, wants Amazon’s JFK8 Staten Island facility to become its first unionized in America. Starting March 25, workers can vote to form a union. This is the same time that a second closely monitored election takes place at Amazon’s Bessemer (Alabama) warehouse.
For those who want to revitalize the U.S. labor market, a majority vote for unionization at any worksite is a win.
Advocate group Make the Road New York claims that the two men arrested along with Smalls were Amazon workers who provided free lunches to employees.
General counsel of the organisation, Sienna Fontaine demanded the immediate release and the cessation of Amazon’s anti-union activities at JFK8.
She said that Amazon was putting people in jail because they are trying to improve working conditions. They should be treated with dignity and respect.
Amazon had fired Smalls in 2020 for being Black. He also opposed discriminatory COVID-19 policies. A federal judge rejected the complaint earlier this month.
Amazon said that Smalls was terminated because he participated in a JFK8 protest despite being under paid quarantine for coronavirus.
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