business news in context, analysis with attitude

Esquire has an interview with Christian Smalls, the Amazon warehouse employee who was fired after he led a demonstration at the New York facility calling for greater safety measures.  (Amazon said he was fired for endangering other employees through his actions.)

Some excerpts:

•  "You want to call us 'essential,' you’ve got to think about our health," he says.  "Our health is just as essential."

•  "On March 24, my colleague tested positive. We were both supervisors, process assistants. There was no transparency. Management was told not to tell our employees, but I couldn’t stand for that. I’d built relationships with these people. I saw them more than I saw my own kids, so for me not to say anything was just insanity. So my coworker and I came back to the building off the clock, on our own free will, and we sat in the cafeteria break room and told the truth. And that’s when we started to form a coalition."

•  "The front-liners, the first responders - we see that there needs to be a change in the balance of power. Capitalism profits off of lower- and middle-class people, especially during this time, when it’s life or death. And these billionaires, they’re still making money, yet they can’t protect their workforce. I have no respect, man. They should be ashamed of themselves. We can’t have this happen again. We cannot."

•  "I heard that I’m 'not smart, or articulate.' That was funny to me. For someone who’s not smart or articulate, I sure managed to bring the world to my home. For someone who makes twenty-­five dollars an hour to be talking to the richest man in the world, that means that I’m speaking the truth. It cost me my career, but it was worth it."

KC's View:

I may be wrong, but this just feels to me like a battle Amazon may not want to have … and may, at some point, regret.