Union organizer, workers arrested at Staten Island Amazon facility

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A union organizer and two Amazon workers were arrested by the New York City Police Department outside of a Staten Island warehouse in an escalation of tensions between the facility’s nascent union and the e-commerce giant.

Christian Smalls, the president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) and former Amazon employee, was charged with trespassing, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. He tweeted Wednesday evening that he had been released. 

Two current Amazon employees, Jason Anthony and Brett Daniels, were also charged with obstructing governmental administration.

The arrests occurred just a week after the ALU and Amazon reached an agreement for a union election to be held at the Staten Island facility, JFK8.

Smalls came to the facility Wednesday to deliver food and union materials, according to the union.

Amazon then called the police on Smalls, who was fired in March of 2020 shortly after leading a protest in support of more COVID-19 protections for warehouse workers. 

“Mr. Smalls — who is not employed by Amazon — has repeatedly trespassed despite multiple warnings,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement to The Hill.  

According to Nantel, employees of the company only called the police on Smalls and not his two fellow union organizers. 

In a video taken of the arrests and shared on social media, union organizers can be heard asking why the two Amazon workers are being arrested..

“He was stopping someone from arresting someone who was trespassing,” an officer responds.

Amazon critics slammed the company for calling the police, calling it a clear attempt to intimidate organizers. 

“We are outraged by this latest escalation of Amazon’s union-busting activities, this time resorting to shameful arrests of workers and organizers,” said Sienna Fontaine, General Counsel at Make the Road New York. “This is part of a reprehensible pattern of retaliating against workers who organize to improve working conditions.”

Tags Amazon Amazon Labor Union New York Staten Island
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