Amazon has fired a Staten Island warehouse worker who organized a strike to demand greater protections for employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Amazon said it fired Chris Smalls after he “received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines.” Smalls and other employees walked out to call attention to the lack of protective measures for workers. They’re also urging Amazon to close the facility after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus. Organizers put the number of strikers around 50, while Amazon said it was less than 15.
“Amazon would rather fire workers than face up to its total failure to do what it should to keep us, our families, and our communities safe,” Smalls said in a statement. “I am outraged and disappointed, but I’m not shocked. As usual, Amazon would rather sweep a problem under the rug than act to keep workers and working communities safe.”
“Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came onsite today, March 30, further putting the teams at risk,” the spokesperson said. “This is unacceptable and we have terminated his employment as a result of these multiple safety issues.”