Amazon union organizer, 2 others arrested at New York facility | national


NEW YORK (AP) — A former Amazon employee who is leading a campaign to unionize a New York warehouse of the online retailer was arrested along with two others on Wednesday after authorities received a complaint of trespassing at the facility, a announced the police.

Christian Smalls faces charges of trespassing, resisting arrest and obstructing government administration, the New York Police Department said. He received an appearance ticket.

Police said Smalls refused to leave the site when asked by officers and was taken into custody. two other men who police say tried to intervene were also taken into custody.

The other two men, both Amazon workers, were also facing charges of obstructing government administration and received appearance tickets.

A message seeking comment has been sent to an attorney representing the organizing efforts.

In a statement, Amazon representative Kelly Nantel said Smalls “has repeatedly trespassed despite multiple warnings. Today, when officers asked Mr. Smalls to leave, he instead chose to escalate the situation and the police made their own decision on how to react.

Smalls, 33, was fired from Amazon after staging a walkout early in the pandemic over safety concerns; the company said he put others at risk by breaking distancing rules.

Amazon workers at a factory in Bessemer, Alabama, are also pushing to unionize. If either effort is successful, it would mark Amazon’s first syndicated installation in the United States. The unionization battles have shed light on Amazon and how it treats its workers. Union-friendly warehouse workers have complained about long shifts and little time to take breaks. Amazon is the second largest private employer in the country behind Walmart.

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