LEILA FADEL, HOST:
Christian Smalls is behind one of the biggest labor victories in modern corporate history.
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
Smalls was fired from Amazon two years ago after leading a walkout over COVID safety concerns at a New York warehouse. Last week, he and his friend Derrick Palmer succeeded in their push to organize Amazon's first unionized warehouse in the U.S.
CHRIS SMALLS: I'm unemployed, and I'm not even on unemployment because I haven't received unemployment since they stopped unemployment. So if I can lead us to victory over Amazon, what's stopping anybody in this country from organizing their workplace? Nothing.
FADEL: Amazon has long fought unionization, saying it prefers to work directly with employees to make a great place to work. But during a Twitter Spaces discussion yesterday, Smalls told NPR's Alina Selyukh his inbox is full of emails from Amazon workers who say they're feeling empowered.
SMALLS: A 24-year-old woman emailed me last night and told me, you guys lit a fire under me. I want to unionize my building. So we have been contacted from over 50 buildings. I'm talking about 50 different buildings, even overseas in South Africa, India, the U.K.
MARTINEZ: The Staten Island warehouse Smalls helped unionize employs 8,300 workers. It is the largest fulfillment center in New York City.
SMALLS: The world is definitely paying attention now. And these workers are paying attention now, which is the best thing possible, because once we finish up here in New York, we absolutely going to help every last person that we can.
MARTINEZ: Smalls says he wants organizing efforts to spread like wildfire.
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