A union organizer and two Amazon workers have been arrested by the New York Police Department outside a Staten Island warehouse in an escalation of tensions between the facility’s fledgling union and the e-commerce giant.
Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) and former Amazon employee, was charged with trespassing, obstructing government administration and resisting arrest. He tweeted Wednesday evening that he had been released.
Two current Amazon employees, Jason Anthony and Brett Daniels, have also been charged with obstructing government administration.
The arrests came just a week after the ALU and Amazon reached an agreement for a union election to be held at the Staten Island office, JFK8.
The little ones came to the facility on Wednesday to deliver food and union supplies, according to the union.
Amazon then called the police on Smalls, who was fired in March 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, company employees only called 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 preventing someone from arresting someone who was trespassing,” replied an officer.
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 union-busting activities by Amazon, 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 retaliation against workers who organize to improve working conditions.”