A leader in Amazon’s warehouse workers solidarity movement, Christian Smalls, was threatened with arrest yesterday while organizing at a fulfillment center bus stop near Albany, New York, where workers recently. applied for a union election.
The workers at this warehouse – ALB1, located in Schodack, New York – are trying to organize Amazon Union. Smalls is the president of the corporation who helped form Amazon first labor union at the Staten Island warehouse where he used to work. Smalls has emerged as a leader in the American labor movement, address to the National Assembly and meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House.
Yesterday, Smalls held an action at the bus stop at ALB1. The bus stop is operated by the Metropolitan District Transportation Authority (CDTA), a local public transit provider, but Amazon claims that the bus stop is part of their private warehouse property.
In a video obtained by More Perfect Union, local police chief John Hourigan said he received a call from Amazon that organizers were checking whether the bus station was privately or publicly owned.
“When Amazon built this facility, they built this shelter. It doesn’t say CDTA on it. It’s not a shelter for the public,” Hourigan said in the video, referring to the bus stop that a small group of organizers had occupied. He gave the organizers a 10-minute break or he would arrest them for trespassing.
A CDTA spokesperson told TechCrunch: “This bus stop is privately owned because it is located in an Amazon parking lot and we are allowed in to pick up customers.” “Once a rider reaches their destination, property owners must deal with situations with the public about their property.”
In the interactive video, Smalls questions the conflicting nature of a privately owned public bus stop.
“If a homeless man comes down here – that’s the last stop, they have to get down here – will they tell them to leave?” Smalls asked.
“I don’t know,” the sheriff replied.
“They do not. The only reason they do it is that we’re forming a union,” Smalls said.
In the end, Smalls and the other organizers left to avoid arrest. On Twitter, Smalls described the incident as “a waste of taxpayer money”.
Amazon has taken similar actions in the past. In February, Smalls and two employees to be arrest to trespass after delivering trays of food to the Staten Island warehouse. At the time, professional attorney for the organizers Seth Goldstein called the action “cruel“Describe the arrest as an act of union vandalism.
An Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company supports employees’ federally protected right to organize. However, Smalls is not an Amazon employee.
Amazon has a history participate anti-union work. Earlier this year, US prosecutors found that the company violate federal labor laws to intimidate, interrogate and survey workers interested in unions.