The Amazon Labor Union movement spearheaded by fired New York City Amazon worker Chris Smalls had a legendary victory on April 2 when employees at the Staten Island warehouse voted to join the upstart labor union.
The move marked the union’s first entry into the e-commerce giant’s U.S. operations. But it was a victory void of major support from NYC’s progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, often referred to as AOC. AOC initially was very vocal in her support of the Amazon labor movement, but as the vote approached, AOC seemingly ghosted the movement, organizers said.
Smalls has called out AOC for her disappearing act. Here are three things to know.
AOC tweeted her support for the Amazon labor union in 2021, and even promised to attend a pro-union rally in August 2021 but was a no-show. Her in-person support would have helped drum up donations for the grassroots movement, Smalls said.
“I think it is pretty obvious we don’t have the resources; we just barely made it …we’re on a week-to-week budget, you know. We don’t have money,” Smalls told the Breaking Points podcast on March 20. The support of AOC and other progressive politicians would help bring in much-needed donations, he added. “It’s just really disheartening, I think, about the whole thing how they abandoned us.”
Right before the union vote on March 31, AOC replied to a tweet questioning her support and claimed she’d had a scheduling conflict. She tweeted, “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.”
Smalls responded to AOC’s tweet by posting, “Smh @AOC that’s terrible workers from your district definitely commute to Staten Island I know them personally maybe you should do your do diligence”.
AOC, who has been the U.S. representative for New York’s 14th congressional district since 2019, represents the eastern part of the NYC borough of The Bronx and part of north-central Queens. She does not represent the borough of Staten Island.
According to AOC’s team, she failed to make it to another union rally in Staten Island in the spring of 2021 due to a security threat, yet she attended the glamorous fashion event the Met Gala, which “traditionally boasts some 600 attendees,” The Federalist reported.
Smalls wasn’t buying the “security threat” excuse. He said he’d met with AOC and her representatives several times and was assured she would be present at one of the union rallies.
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AOC went to the MET Gala where she wore a gown painted with the slogan, “Tax The Rich.”
Smalls told “Breaking Points” he found it strange because her reps told him they were canceling all of her upcoming events at the time due to security concerns yet she attended the Met Gala, where she was surrounded by NYC’s elite and wealthy.
“This campaign should be the most talked-about campaign in the country … we’re talking about workers from the bottom who have nothing,” said Smalls. “(The campaign) got over 4,000 workers to sign up for this independent union in less than a year.”
Photo: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, speaks during a news conference outside the United States Postal Service Jamaica station, Aug. 18, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Photo: Chris Smalls at the Amazon Labor Union press conference and rally in Staten Island, New York, Aug. 11, 2021. Credit: Rainmaker Photos/MediaPunch /IPX/
Photo: An Amazon company logo in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, March 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)