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Amazon union organizer arrested for allegedly trespassing at warehouse

The ex-employee was delivering food to workers.

JOHANNES EISELE via Getty Images

With Amazon's Staten Island warehouse facing a vote to unionize next month, police have arrested labor organizer Christian Smalls at the facility for allegedly trespassing, Reuters has reported. Two other individuals that reportedly worked at the facility were also arrested, and Smalls was charged with resisting arrest and trespassing.

A former employee, Smalls said that he was "literally a visitor" delivering food to other employees, and that Amazon was trying to "increase the intimidation factor" via his arrest. Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told Reuters that Smalls "has repeatedly trespassed despite multiple warnings."

The three arrests were captured on video by Motherboard, which reported that the NYPD handcuffed the organizers who wore bright red shirts with the slogans "Amazon Labor Union." Smalls was fired in March 2020 after he led a protest outside the warehouse demanding better safety and health protections.

A vote to unionize the Staten Island facility is set to start on March 25th, and a successful one would make it the first union Amazon warehouse. Another vote is set to be counted next month from the same Alabama warehouse that voted against unionizing.

After the first Alabama vote, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) organizing it accused Amazon of violating the National Labor Relations Act. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) agreed and ordered a second vote in early February, with counting to start on March 28th.