Amazon Labor Union’s Chris Smalls faces off against Sen. Graham on workers


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At the opening of a Senate Banking Committee hearing focused on Amazon (AMZN (AMZN)), in which Graham used his initial remarks to blast the “demonization of individual companies,” Christian Smalls — the Amazon Labor Union head who helped lead a successful union vote in Staten Island last month — told the panel’s ranking Republican that it’s in his “best interest” to listen to workers.

Citing the legal process for challenging illegal anti-union activity, Graham had criticized the committee’s chair, Sen. Bernie Sanders, for holding a “dangerous” hearing that relied on the presumption that “you’ve determined Amazon is a piece of crap company.”

“Every time I turn around, you’re having a hearing about ‘anybody who makes money is bad,'” Graham said, addressing Sanders.

Smalls, who appeared before the Senate wearing a New York Yankees ballcap and a red-and-black letterman jacket with the phrase “Eat the Rich” stitched on it, paused to address Graham directly before launching into his own prepared remarks.

“You forgot that the people are the ones who make these companies operate, and when we’re not protected, the process for when we hold these companies accountable is not working for us, then that’s the reason why we’re here today,” Smalls said.

“I think it’s in your best interest to realize that it’s not a left or right thing,” Smalls continued. “It’s not a Democrat or Republican thing. It’s a workers’ issue, and we’re the ones that are suffering …. you should listen, because we do represent your constituents as well.”

In addition to testifying before the Senate Thursday, Smalls was also in Washington to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh at the White House, along with other labor union organizers.



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