Amazon Union President encourages unionization in Fargo
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – After a Staten Island Amazon warehouse unionized in April, more workers want to follow their lead.
“There was no protection for me, the company has the at-will cause and most of these corporations do and that’s something that, without a union, these corporations absolutely exploit. So, we have to put an end to that and having a union provides job security and fight for better benefits and a better quality of life overall then that’s what everybody deserves,” says Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls.
Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls speaks about his journey where he says he was fired in 2020 for organizing a protest regarding Amazon’s unsafe pandemic conditions.
He wants to bring the movement to Fargo where he will support a possible union when the right time comes.
“As I landed last night I heard about it. People were talking about the Amazon facility in the area. Since we won on April 1st, every building has reached out to us. We have a long catalog of buildings. I have my members going through and compiling a list of buildings that want to unionize,” Smalls says.
Bernie Burnham, the President of Minnesota’s AFL-CIO says young workers cannot be underestimated after seeing stories like Smalls’ and more workers from big companies starting to unionize.
“I’m in from Minnesota, so actually we’re still fortunate. I will say that we have a lot of union growth happening in our state right now but I think as young workers across the country are watching folks like Chris and they’re watching the people at Starbucks and they’re watching breweries and distilleries across the nation, people are ready. They’re ready to be treated better,” says Burnham.
Smalls says bigger companies like Amazon will fire workers if they feel employees are not meeting a certain quota and how he learned the hard way when standing up for himself.
Burnham and Smalls feel labor history should be taught in schools as people wouldn’t have holidays, healthcare and better education for their children if it weren’t for those who fought for those rights.