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Amazon debacle heats up as NY AG calls for probe into firing of protest organizer, reportedly exposed to COVID-19

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Who needs a labor union when you have New York Attorney General Letitia James doing your bidding?

The state’s top prosecutor, a radical left, Trump-hating Democrat, called on the National Labor Relations Board to investigate the firing of an Amazon worker who led a protest at a company warehouse in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reported.

Chris Smalls was reportedly fired by Amazon on Monday after he led a protest after the online retail giant opted to keep a Staten Island facility open after a worker tested positive for the Chinese virus COVID-19.

“It is disgraceful that Amazon would terminate an employee who bravely stood up to protect himself and his colleagues. At the height of a global pandemic, Chris Smalls and his colleagues publicly protested the lack of precautions that Amazon was taking to protect them from COVID-19,” James said in a statement.

“In New York, the right to organize is codified into law, and any retaliatory action by management related thereto is strictly prohibited,” she added.

James added ominously that her office is also “considering all legal options.”

Her stance certainly explains why unions pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the Democratic Party, but it doesn’t account for Amazon’s take on events.

Workers at the Amazon warehouse walked out during lunch Monday, over concerns about safety at the job site, according to USA Today, but the national paper reported that Smalls said he was fired for violating “multiple safety issues.”

CNET reported that Amazon instructed Smalls to stay at home with pay for 14 days after he came in close contact with an infected employee, but Smalls showed up at the facility Monday to lead the protest — there’s no word on whether he practiced social distancing while protesting.

“Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came onsite today, March 30, further putting the teams at risk,” a spokesperson told CNBC. “This is unacceptable and we have terminated his employment as a result of these multiple safety issues.”

The protest, mind you, focused on safety concerns.

The irony here being that USA Today said some of the workers protesting feared the possibility of getting the virus from customers or co-workers. Little did they know, the individual leading the protest they were taking part in, Smalls, could potentially be a source of contamination.

That James ignored this angle, or was ignorant to it, being instructive in itself.

“We are walking out to protest the impossible choice of coming to work at a toxic workplace and possibly spreading the virus or going unpaid during an economic crisis,” said Rina Cummings, a worker at the center.

Cummings released a statement via Athena, a coalition of hard-left immigrant and labor organizations that regularly targets Amazon.

Workers from Instacart and Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, also protested, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which is behind the campaign targeting Walmart, backed their efforts, according to USA Today.

Amazon recently announced that it was looking to hire 100,000 workers for deliveries during the pandemic, as stay-at-home orders around the country have people utilizing Amazon’s service to help avoid going out. A temporary increase in minimum pay to $17 an hour was also implemented.

On the other hand, courtesy of Congress, there’s a possibility that because of a $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits, workers temporarily laid off due to closings could earn more than if they remained employed.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison

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