After dealing with “horrific” work conditions since the coronavirus pandemic began, Amazon employee Chris Smalls organized a walkout and strike against the company yesterday. According to The New York Post, he was fired shortly thereafter.
“They pretty much retaliated against me for speaking out,” Smalls explains. “I don’t know how they sleep at night.”
Before getting fired, Chris Smalls worked at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, where an employee just tested positive for coronavirus. One of the demands he and his fellow employees asked for during their strike was that the warehouse temporarily close and clean the facility. They also wanted paid time off for people who were either sick or self-quarantining.
In a statement, Amazon claims that Smalls was fired for violating social distancing guidelines and refusing to stay quarantined after coming into contact with the employee who had coronavirus. They also explain, “Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came on site today, March 30, further putting the teams at risk. This is unacceptable and we have terminated his employment as a result of these multiple safety issues.”
Amazon also adds that they are “tripling down” on their cleaning, they are providing safety gear for employees, they are checking temperatures as employees enter the facility, and they are making sure employees practice social distancing.
Chris Smalls did another interview with Bloomberg TV, where he goes into more detail about work conditions at Amazon. Listen to the interview below.