Making Good Trouble on Staten Island: Chris Small's Battle to Unionize Amazon (Paperback)
Few books document a living history in real-time. This book is one of them. With gripping, on-the-ground reporting it shows how a rag-tag group of workers, who had never organized anything political in their lives before, decided to take on the largest company in the world.
At the head of the group is young, handsome black man, Chris Smalls.
Smalls is not a typical union leader. He has no formal political or organizing experience. He had a decent-paying job at Amazon which he knew would be placed at risk by attempting to organize a union. Amazon has labeled Smalls as a thug and claims that the union effort is being led by outside trouble makers. But using unconventional tactics like camping for months outside the facility and talking to workers as they arrive at and leave work, Small and his team are close to succeeding where big unions have failed. Today the company stands on the brink of recognizing its first union.
The title of Making Good Trouble on Staten Island references a quote by the storied congressional representative John Lewis: "Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and redeem the soul of America."' The workers at the Amazon facility on Staten Island are heading Rep John Lewis's call. If they succeed, history will well and truly have been made.
About the Author
Amir Khafagy is an award-winning New York City-based freelance journalist. Much of Amir's beat explores the intersections of labor, race, class, immigration, and urban policy. His reporting has been featured in The New Republic, Documented, Vice, The American Prospect Bloomberg, and The Guardian. Amir holds a BA in Urban Studies and an MA in Urban Affairs from Queens College. A lifelong New Yorker, Amir was born and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens into a working-class, Muslim, immigrant family. His mother is Puerto Rican and his father is an immigrant from Egypt.