DA Candidate Rallies Behind Amazon Workers Protesting Bezos
Diana Florence is backed by 6 unions: "Mr. Bezos needs to be held accountable"
NEW YORK, NY (08/09/2020) (readMedia)-- Diana Florence- a candidate for Manhattan District Attorney- threw her support behind essential workers at Amazon who've been fighting for basic protections. Florence is the former head of the Construction Fraud Task Force at the Manhattan District Attorney's office, where she prosecuted landmark cases against unscrupulous employers for endangering workers' lives. She recently wrote a New York Daily News op-ed about keeping essential workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Florence launched her campaign on Monday with the support of 6 labor unions: the New York State Ironworkers, Bricklayers Local 1, Terrazzo Workers Local 7, Heat & Frost Insulators Local 12, Ironworkers Local 361, Northeast District Council of Plasterers' & Cement Masons' Local 262 and 780, and other labor affiliates.
On Sunday, August 9th at 12 noon, Christian Smalls- a former Amazon employee who was fired for blowing the whistle on unsafe work conditions and attempting to unionize- and The Congress of Essential Workers (TCOEW) are holding a protest outside Jeff Bezos's Fifth Avenue apartment. Diana is currently confined to protective quarantine and cannot attend the rally in-person.
Diana Florence said in a statement:
"Amazon fired Christian Smalls for demanding his right to a safe workplace, while Jeff Bezos has become the richest man in the world on the backs of the same essential workers he can't be bothered to provide PPE, or a measly $2 increase in hazard pay. Instead of looking the other way, prosecutors need to put people first and use their power to investigate Amazon for every preventable worker death, illness, and COVID-19 outbreak. There's a fine line between an accident waiting to happen and criminally negligent behavior and Mr. Bezos needs to be held accountable."
Jeff Bezos- CEO of Amazon- is the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $181,000,000,000 (as of Friday, July 31, 2020). Recently, he cut the $2 per hour hazard pay for warehouse workers, decreased health care benefits, and continues to retaliate against vocal and concerned employees, while simultaneously increasing his wealth by $13 billion in a single day during July. Amazon workers are calling on Bezos to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), paid leave for COVID-positive employees, hazard pay, $30/hour wages at a minimum, and support to unionize.
About Diana Florence
Diana Florence began her career as a prosecutor 25 years ago in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, focusing on domestic violence cases, then complex frauds and corruption in the Special Prosecutions Bureau and Labor Racketeering Unit, and later becoming the head of the first of its kind Construction Fraud Task Force. She won landmark convictions against companies and individuals for defrauding 9/11 charities, corruption, domestic violence, wage theft, and deadly work conditions. She has taught trial advocacy for over two decades to lawyers in the DA's Office and has lectured investigators and lawyers from around the world on topics ranging from inter-agency cooperation to prosecuting fraud, racketeering and workplace homicide.
As an ADA, Diana held powerful interests accountable by prosecuting developers and corrupt corporations for cheating workers and taxpayers. In an historic case against Harco Construction, she ultimately secured justice for the family of a 22 year-old construction worker, Carlos Moncayo, who was buried alive at work. Using the existing criminal law, Diana charged the corporations and site supervisors, who had been repeatedly warned of hazardous conditions, with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for Moncayo's death. As a result, she drafted legislation (A10728) named after Carlos Moncayo, known as "Carlos' Law" that would establish higher fines for corporations for endangering workers' lives.
Diana has made prosecuting wage theft a centerpiece of her career, notably working alongside IronWorkers Local 361 to secure $6 million in stolen wages and back-pay from AGL Industries. Diana subsequently wrote a bill (A06795) with Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) to reclassify wage theft as the more serious crime of larceny. Other jurisdictions- like the Pittsburgh City Council and Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner- subsequently created similar prosecution models for wage theft.
Born in Manhattan, Diana is a long-time resident of Kips Bay where she lives with her husband and two children. Diana graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a BA in Art History with a concentration in Spanish as well as her law degree.
Visit www.DianaforDA.com for more information.