Amazon union organizers are reportedly feuding less than a year after a New York location voted to unionize

  • A rift has formed in Amazon’s Labor Union at a New York warehouse, The New York Times reported. 
  • Some organizers blamed a lack of contract on union president Christian Smalls, per NYT.
  • Smalls told Insider these claims make “zero sense” and don’t represent those who started the union.

JFK8, an Amazon warehouse based in Staten Island, made history last April as the e-commerce giant’s first warehouse in the US to successfully vote to form a union.

But in the months since then, tension in the union has been brewing and has turned into two feuding “factions,” The New York Times reported earlier this week

A dozen people with close ties to Amazon’s Labor Union told the Times that the union has yet to secure a contract or get Amazon to the bargaining table, which they blamed in part on internal disagreements between union president Christian Smalls and some of the union’s legacy organizers. 

Sources familiar with the matter accused Smalls of failing to devote enough time to efforts to secure a contract for JFK8 for months because he has been busy travelling to other Amazon warehouses, making public appearances at labor protests, and speaking events in cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and London, according to the Times.

joe biden christian smalls white house union meeting

Christian Smalls, along with other union organizers, met President Joe Biden in May 2022.

The White House



The union officials told the Times that Smalls hasn’t spent enough time making decisions around governance or budgeting.

Smalls told Insider that it’s common for union presidents to travel and that these claims “make zero sense.” He added that those making the claims “do not represent the Black and Brown workers who started this union at all.” 

There’s also been disagreement around some of the organizers’ proposed tactics, such as the idea of organizing a large strike in an effort to get Amazon to the bargaining table, the Times reported.

Smalls told the Times in an interview that efforts toward securing a contract continued and that he didn’t think a strike was a good idea, saying that it risked intimidating workers afraid of losing their jobs. He told the Times his travels also helped raise donations to fund the union’s efforts until a contract is reached.

Tensions came to a head during a December meeting in which Smalls told union members that organizers who don’t want to cooperate with him should leave, according to the Times.

“You got a problem with me? Deuces,” he said at the meeting, per the Times.

Amazon and the Amazon Union did not respond to Insider’s immediate request for comment.

Amazon is currently contesting the results of the union vote at its Staten Island warehouse. A federal labor agency dismissed its objections in January and certified the union’s status, CNBC reported, but Amazon is appealing the ruling.

More recent attempts by Amazon workers to unionize have failed in Albany, New York and Bessemer, Alabama.

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