ALU Boss Chris Smalls Joins Bernie Sanders To Blast Amazon For Unfair Labor Practices

Chris Smalls, the young, black man who beat Amazon union busters, blasted Jeff Bezos and company for maltreatment of their workers at the Senate yesterday. He was joined by Senator Bernie Sanders.

Chris Smalls
Legoktm, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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The Assembly

Yesterday, Chris Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union, addressed the Senate. CNBC reported that Smalls criticized unfair labor practices that keep workers hindered at companies, including at Amazon. 

Smalls was joined by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, who assembled the  hearing and called out Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos. Sanders accused Bezos of union-busting and lobbied the White House to refuse federal contracts to companies accused of unfair labor practices.

Disappointed that his invitation to have Bezos testify was not accepted, Sanders questioned the Amazon leader. 

“Given all your wealth, how much do you need? Why are you doing everything in your power, including breaking the law, to deny Amazon workers the right to join a union so that they can negotiate for better wages, better working conditions and better benefits? How much do you need?” asked Sanders. 

Smalls said Amazon has violated labor laws “with impunity,” agreeing with Sanders that the company should not be awarded government contracts.

“We cannot allow Amazon or any other employer to receive taxpayer money if they engage in illegal union-busting behavior and deny workers’ rights,” Smalls said in his testimony. “We cannot provide federal contracts to these employers. We cannot allow them to receive taxpayer subsidies from our state and local governments.”

Vice President Kamala Harris hosted Smalls and other organizers at the White House on Thursday. Reuters reported Amazon, Starbucks and other pro-union workers were there, discussing “their extraordinary efforts to organize unions in their workplaces.” 

“We’re here today to inspire,” Smalls said, according to a White House spokesperson. “To send the message to workers around the country that it’s possible to stand up for your rights. We can do it together and I look forward to continuing discussions with the Biden-Harris Administration.”

Historic Victory To Unionize Amazon Workers

A former Amazon warehouse worker and one-time aspiring rapper, Chris Smalls successfully unionized Amazon workers after a years-long battle with the mega corporation’s lawyers. New York is only the first step.

On Friday, April 1, Amazon employees in Staten Island voted to unionize. This marked the first union success in the company’s history. This is especially epic considering Amazon’s historic union-busting tactics. 

According to the Associated Press, 55 percent of warehouse workers voted in favor of unionizing, just enough for the labor union to succeed. Chris Smalls is now the president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which is independent of any national union organization.