Invited by Joe Biden, Amazon Christian Smalls trade unionist did not go unnoticed at the Oval Office

Invited by Joe Biden, Amazon Christian Smalls trade unionist did not go unnoticed at the Oval Office


“Today I met with local labor organizers to thank them for their leadership in organizing unions. “From the Amazon Workers’ Union to IATSE and Titmouse Productions, these people are inspiring a nationwide labor movement to fight for the pay and benefits they deserve,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

A signal ”

And this meeting did not go unnoticed, with some referring to a “strong message sent to the American trade union world.”

“This wave of pro-workers, pro-unionism that the nation has swept is due to years of organizing with leaders like the Smalls. I am so happy to see the Biden government formally acknowledging these efforts. “We hope that meetings like these mean that there is more protection for employees on the horizon.”

Smalls revenge on Amazon

Christian Smalls created a surprise in early April, as it became the first Amazon union in the United States. At the age of 33 and unemployed, he worked at the JFK8 warehouse until March 2020. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, faced with another little-known and devastating virus, he rose up against the lack of protection and calls for a mini-strike. The protest does not attract crowds, but it does attract attention, at least on Amazon. He will be fired two days later, officially because he did not follow the health rules.

According to an internal memo leaked to the press shortly afterwards, a senior company official said of him that “he is not smart, he does not know how to express himself clearly” and that “the face of the whole union should be moved”.

“That’s what I did,” he told AFP two years later. Meanwhile, he protested outside several homes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to defend the rights of key employees. He also went in the spring of 2021 to support activists trying to form a union at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama.

A “spark” for a new movement?

In the style of a rapper, this African-American “does not look like a traditional trade unionist,” admits Justine Medina, a member of the ALU. But “he is brilliant, he knows how to inspire people, to assign tasks to everyone, to bring people together,” he says. And all the media attention “does not go to his head, he remains grounded”, he assures.

Starbucks, Apple and Alphabet are also facing trade union plans. Christian Smalls hopes that ALU “will be the spark that will spark an entire movement on Amazon.”

See also at The HuffPost: At the Washington Press Gala, some jokes between Biden and Trevor Noah, and a lot of Russia


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