Amazon Labor Union leader Christian Smalls slammed New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for not attending a pro-labor rally and being hesitant in supporting the movement.
Mr Smalls is the leader of the first successful effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse.
“Any message for AOC specifically?” Status Coup asked Mr Smalls on 1 April after the results of the vote to unionize the warehouse in Staten Island were revealed.
“Hell no, I’m not giving her no… she don’t deserve this moment,” Mr Smalls said.
He said he went to Washington, DC last summer to ask progressive Democrats to attend a pro-union rally in August. Some were sleeping on the steps of the Capitol at the time, protesting the end to a pause in evictions. Mr Smalls said he invited New York progressives such as Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mondaire Jones.
“They were positive when I met them in person,” he said on the Krystal Kyle & Friends Podcast. “I met Cori Bush on the steps. I brought them ALU shirts. We tried to convince them to come up there. AOC was like ‘yeah, take my information’.”
He said he had three meetings with his staff. “Leading up to the rally everything was good up until the last second. They were like ‘yeah, they can’t make it.’ I was like ‘wow’.”
“They didn’t give me a real reason besides there is a security threat for AOC and I’m like, I was just sleeping on the steps with her in DC, she had no security there. She had maybe one person there. It did n’t make sense because they said they canceled all her in-person meetings of her for the rest of the month then she at the Met Gala, ”he said.
When the winning vote was announced on Thursday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez tweeted muscle-emojis to celebrate the victory.
Krystal Ball of the Krystal Kyle & Friends Podcast tweeted, “these are your constituents and you couldn’t be bothered to show up until they’re on the cusp of victory”.
“The warehouse isn’t in my district and maybe you should look at a map before claiming so. One scheduling conflict aside, we have requested oversight investigations into Amazon, met with Amazon workers in the Woodside warehouses, and more. Hope you do more due diligence next time,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez responded.
“Smh @AOC that’s terrible workers from your district definitely commute to Staten Island I know them personally maybe you should do your [due] diligence,” Mr Smalls wrote.
Progressive journalist Jordan Chariton wrote: “I was told by workers that your folks told them at last minute it was a security issue – not a scheduling conflict. Whether [it’s you’re] district or not, you would think a NY Congressman could’ve tweeted support – particularly in final weeks – for one of the most important union drives in [the] US.”
“Security was an issue as well. 2021 included a lot of high level threats on my life, which limited what activities I was able to do, especially those outside,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said. “The combination of that + when we are able to get resources/time to secure them creates scheduling + logistical conflicts.”
“With respect, there’s no security concerns with sending out support to @amazonlabor trying to win the first unionized Amazon to 13 million followers. Your voice and organizing power makes a difference,” Mr Chariton said.
“No security concerns at the met gala,” Ms Ball along with a puzzled emoji.
The JFK8 Amazon facility voted in favor of forming a union by 2,654 to 2,131 – becoming the first of the 110 warehouses in the US to do so.
Mr Smalls previously worked at the warehouse in Staten Island before being fired in 2020 for breaking social distancing rules when he attended a walkout he helped to organize against unsafe working conditions during the pandemic.
Mr Smalls gained public attention when Amazon’s chief counsel accidentally emailed more than 1,000 people, saying that he was “not smart, or articulate” and suggested making him the “face” of the organizing movement.
“Amazon wanted to make me the face of the whole unionizing efforts against them,” Mr Smalls tweeted on Friday. “Welp there you go!”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.