Former rapper Chris Smalls made history after he helped lead a walkout for his Amazon colleagues.
The New Jersey native is president of the Amazon Labor Union and began speaking out about poor safety conditions in the warehouse at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 when he was still employed at Amazon.
Smalls was later fired after Amazon claimed he violated social distancing rules by attending the pro-union really in Birmingham while he was supposed to be in quarantine, but many, including smalls believe he was terminated for his efforts to organize the Staten Island JFK8 union.
Smalls would go on to make history as he led a group of Amazon warehouse workers to a successful union vote, marking the first U.S. Amazon warehouse to vote to join a union in a federally recognized election.
This is Chris Smalls. He worked in an Amazon warehouse for over four years.
In 2020 he was fired for protesting unsafe conditions and quarantine violations.
In 2021 he started the Amazon Labor Union calling for higher pay, better benefits, and better anti-discrimination policy. pic.twitter.com/u8DVP3Xu1r
— GOOD (@good) April 1, 2022
BREAKING: AMAZON LABOR UNION WINS HISTORIC FIGHT FOR THE FIRST AMAZON UNION IN THE ENTIRE US‼️ pic.twitter.com/GvUDLiw0Yu
— Amazon Labor Union (@amazonlabor) April 1, 2022
“We want to thank Jeff Bezos for going up to space, because while he was up there, we were organizing a union,” Smalls said in an interview outside of the NLRB offices.
The Amazon Labor Union won by more than 500 votes, with 2,654 workers voting in favor of a union according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).