“Why are you arresting us?” That was the central question shouted at NYPD officers arresting Amazon union organizers on February 23, 2022. Their response? “Trespassing.” Which is questionable.
But this conflict actually all goes back to months before, when Amazon waged war against its Black union organizers, writing them off as “thugs.”
The so-called leading “thug” is 32-year-old Christian Smalls, who was fired after organizing a walkout in March 2020 to protest Amazon’s inadequate COVID-19 safety precautions. So, nearly two years later, Amazon and cops jumped at the opportunity to arrest him and his colleagues.
But what were they actually doing?
Delivering free lunches to Amazon workers in the break room! But this is unsurprising behavior from a $386 billion company with cruelly low wages and dozens of legal complaints and violations. It’s also unsurprising that the NYPD helped make this all happen; police have historically suppressed labor activism, after all.
It’s hard not to notice the influx of news about workers going on strike, police growing in power, and corporations gaining wealth – all during a pandemic! We all need to take a stance now.
Like the labor organizers attacked by police, it's critical for us to support workers challenging policing and capitalism by refusing to be exploited. From picket lines to fundraising to boycotts, you can get involved – see what’s going on in your area!