Amazon Memo shows plans to smear workers who have staged a strike

Apr 4, 2020 2:15 AM ET

An Amazon employee dismissed after a strike to protest the company’s poor response to the coronavirus outbreak was the subject of a smear campaign by the company’s top brass, a leaked memo shows.

“He’s not smart or articulate, and to the extent that the press wants to focus on us towards him, we’re going to be in a much stronger PR position than just explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers, “said Amazon General Attorney David Zapolsky wrote in notes from a meeting.

The memo received from Vice News detailed the company’s credibility efforts by Chris Smalls, the employee who organized a demonstration to protest the company’s actions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Smalls – an Amazon employee for five years – said the company had not taken adequate measures to protect workers at its facility in Staten Island, New York.

“Amazon would rather lay off workers than face the complete failure to do what it should to protect us, our families, and our communities,” said Smalls in a statement HuffPost had received earlier this week. “I am outraged and disappointed, but I am not shocked. As usual, Amazon would rather sweep a problem under the carpet than act to ensure the safety of workers and working groups.”

In his notes from a meeting on the subject, Zapolsky wrote about efforts to convince the public that what Smalls was doing was “immoral”.

“We should spend the first part of our answer explaining the reasons why the organizer’s behavior in detail was immoral, unacceptable, and probably illegal, and then follow up with our usual occupational safety discussions,” Zapolsky wrote. “Make it the most interesting part of history and, if possible, make it the face of the entire union / organizational movement.”

In response to questions from Vice News, Zapolsky said he let his feelings take over.

“I was frustrated and upset that an Amazon employee would endanger the health and safety of other Amazonians by repeatedly returning to the premises after being warned to quarantine after exposure to the Covid-19 virus “said Zapolsky the drain. “I let my feelings draw my words and defeat myself.”

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