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New York AG denounces ‘immoral and inhumane’ firing of Amazon worker who led protest over lack of coronavirus protections

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“Taking action cost me my job,” said Chris Smalls. “Because I tried to stand up for something that’s right, the company decided to retaliate against me.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James late Monday condemned as “immoral and inhumane” Amazon’s firing of a Staten Island fulfillment center employee who organized a walkout protesting the retail giant’s failure to provide workers with adequate protections against the coronavirus outbreak.

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James said in a statement that her office is considering taking legal action against Amazon and called on the National Labor Relations Board to investigate the firing of Chris Smalls, who accused the company of retaliating against him for Monday’s demonstration.

“The conditions there are horrific. The items that we use to clean up the building are scarce… We don’t have the proper masks, we don’t have the latex gloves.”
—Chris Smalls, fired Amazon employee

“It is disgraceful that Amazon would terminate an employee who bravely stood up to protect himself and his colleagues,” said James. “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. Today, Chris Smalls was fired.”

Amazon, owned by world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, said in a statement that it terminated Smalls for “violating social distancing guidelines” by returning to the Staten Island fulfillment center after he was asked to self-quarantine for 14 days following his exposure to a worker infected by COVID-19.

In an interview with Bloomberg Monday, Smalls called Amazon’s claim “ridiculous.”

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“Taking action cost me my job,” said Smalls, who was an assistant manager. “Because I tried to stand up for something that’s right, the company decided to retaliate against me.”

Thus far, only one worker at the Staten Island fulfillment center has officially tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but Smalls told Bloomberg he believes more employees have been infected and condemned the company’s failure to take necessary precautions.

“The conditions there are horrific,” said Smalls. “The items that we use to clean up the building are scarce… We don’t have the proper masks, we don’t have the latex gloves.”

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“It’s all false, it’s all sugarcoated,” Smalls said of Amazon’s insistence that it has put in place adequate safety procedures. “We have plenty of workers that haven’t been to work for the entire month of March because they’re scared for their lives… We have people that have Lupus, we have people that have asthma, we have people that have infants at home, that have people that’s pregnant.”

As Common Dreams reported, dozens of employees at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse walked off the job Monday afternoon to protest the facility’s unsanitary conditions.

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“We’re not asking for much,” Smalls told CNN ahead of the protest. “We’re asking the building to be closed and sanitized, and for us to be paid [during that process].”


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‘Trump may well face charges’ after Supreme Court gave prosecutors access to financial records: Legal experts

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President Donald Trump could potentially face charges after the Supreme Court dealt him a loss in Trump v. Vance .

The ruling gives Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. the go-ahead to subpoena Trump’s accounting firm as part of his investigation into possible tax crimes involving hush money payments to his mistresses, according to attorneys Norm Eisen and Bassetti in Just Security.

"Trump has significant state law criminal exposure in connection with his hush money payments (for which his fixer Michael Cohen has already gone to jail on federal charges) — and more," the pair wrote. "Trump cannot pardon himself for state law offenses on his way out the door. And the Justice Department’s position that a sitting president cannot be indicted does not bind New York state authorities."

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WATCH: Drunk CEO brags about his wealth as he spews racist slurs at California bartender

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During her shift this Tuesday night at a bar in Fresno, California, Rebecca Hernandez found herself on the receiving end of racist slurs from an intoxicated man. Since she was with only one other co-worker in the bar and feared for her safety, she took out her phone and started recording the incident on video.

“You’re a dark-haired dumbass, sand-n****r motherf*cker,” the man said to her.

“You’re going to be on the internet,” Hernandez told the man, who identified himself in the video as Jason Wood.

“No honey, I drive the internet," he responded.

Hernandez posted the video to Instagram, where it's garnered thousands of views.

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Prosecutor spills details about Bill Barr’s ‘unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained’ efforts to oust him

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Geoffrey Berman, the man who until recently served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told members of Congress on Thursday about Attorney General Bill Barr's "unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained" efforts to oust him.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Berman explained how Barr contacted him and repeatedly pressed him to step down from his position at SDNY to take another high-profile position within the government.

Berman, however, told Barr that he wanted to stay at his current job until a replacement was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate.

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