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Fired Amazon worker speaks after Staten Island warehouse walkout over COVID-19 concerns

Posted at 9:23 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 10:12:22-04

NEW YORK — He was fired from his job as an assistant manager at a Staten Island Amazon warehouse after organizing a walkout Monday amid employee coronavirus concerns.

Chris Smalls told his side of the story to the PIX11 Morning News on Wednesday.

Amazon says Smalls was let go because he showed up to the fulfillment center Monday after being told over the weekend to self-quarantine due to coming in contact with a coworker who tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Smalls said he was the reason that infected coworker was sent home from work last week, a day before she tested positive. Smalls believes he was fired just hours after he helped lead the employee protest.

Amazon workers walked off the job Monday over what many of them called a lack of safety protocols to protect employees from coronavirus.

Amazon has kept open the JFK8 fulfillment center on Gulf Avenue in northern Staten Island despite numerous confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to protest organizers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has since called for an investigation into Smalls' firing.

"We heard...a specific charge that a worker who raised health and safety concerns, raised social distancing concerns was fired," de Blasio said Tuesday. "I have ordered the City's Commission on Human Rights to investigate Amazon immediately, to determine if that's true."