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First Amazon Union Making Waves In New York

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Chris Smalls, president of the newly formed Amazon Labor Union, first led a protest at Amazon because he felt they didn’t do enough to protect the workers from Covid-19.

He claimed that Amazon put him in quarantine but refused to put anyone else in quarantine. What did he do? He led a walkout of Amazon, leaving the warehouse short of workers that day. The walkout led to his termination at Amazon.

In an interview with CNBC, Chris Small said,

“From that moment, you know, I travelled the country advocating for worker’s rights. You know, I didn’t give up. Especially after Jeff Bezos himself signed up on a campaign calling me not smart or articulate to make me the face of the unionizing effort.”

When asked what his approach from here would be or to what degree he would cooperate more with Amazon leadership, Chris responded.

“Well they don’t have no choice. You know, the revolution is here. That’s what we just witnessed on Friday. We’re going to organize buildings all across the nation. You know, in the last 72 hours, we’ve been contacted from workers all over the world. So, they want to unionize, we are going to absolutely help them. We’re going to get it done here in New York first. We have another election coming up in three weeks, so we’re right back at the campaign, on the campaign trail. And once we are finished here in New York, we are going to spread, just like the Starbucks movement is spreading across the nation.”

CNBC reported on Amazon’s pushback against the unionizing efforts.

“Amazon has fought aggressively to beat back unionization efforts on Staten Island, just as it has in Bessemer, Alabama, where workers just concluded a second union vote after the initial one failed last year. Warehouse staffers across the company amped up their activism during the Covid pandemic, demanding safer working conditions and better pay.

At JFK8, Amazon’s largest warehouse in New York City, and three other facilities on Staten Island, GSG has put together videos featuring Amazon managers and executives, and has distributed flyers to staffers. Amazon has delivered anti-union presentations that workers have been required to sit through at meetings, which were often attended by representatives from GSG, according to a person familiar with the matter.

GSG employees have also been monitoring the social media accounts of Amazon Labor Union organizers, said the person, who asked not to be named due to confidentiality. ALU is a fledgling organization, made up of current and former company employees, that’s seeking to represent JFK8 workers.”

It’s interesting that Pres. Joe Biden opened his 2020 presidential election bid with a pitch to organized labor. He vowed to take on what he described as a broken political system that has eroded the middle class and given rise to intense divisions.

It should be no surprise that now, with Joe Biden as president, unions are taking on corporations. What that means for us, as consumers, is that prices will be raised to pay for the things that unions will demand.

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The only way Amazon would be able to stand up against the union is if they would fire the entire body of unionized workers.