With a long-awaited unionization vote to be held at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse next month, police have arrested union organizer Christian Smalls at the facility on suspicion of trespassing, Reuters reports. Two other people reportedly working at the facility were also arrested, while Christian Smalls himself was charged with resisting arrest and trespassing.
Going into more detail, Christian Smalls, a former employee of the corporation, said he was “literally a visitor” delivering food to other employees and that Amazon was trying to “increase the intimidation factor” with its arrest. In response, Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, told the same Reuters agency that Christian Smalls “repeatedly trespassed despite numerous warnings.” Somehow, all three arrests were caught on video by another news outlet, Motherboard, which also reported that the NYPD had handcuffed the organizers, who were wearing bright red “Amazon Union” shirts.
Christian Smalls, by the way, was fired from the company back in March 2020 after he decided to lead a protest near the warehouse, demanding from management more safety and protecting the health of employees. In any case, the upcoming vote to unify the Staten Island facility is due to start as early as March 25, and if successful, it will be the first time that Amazon workers have unionized.
Next month, votes will also be counted from the company’s warehouse in Alabama, which in turn had previously voted against unionization. It is important to note that after the first vote in Alabama, the Union of Retailers, Wholesalers and Department Stores, which organized it, accused the tech giant of violating the National Labor Relations Act. The National Labor Relations Board finally agreed and ordered a second vote in early February, with the counting of votes starting on March 28. Either way, at this point it is very difficult to say exactly how the arrest of Christian Smalls and two other workers who are positive about unionization will affect this whole situation.