on the cover

On the Cover of New York Magazine: The Organizer, Chris Smalls

Photo: Photograph by Andreas Laszlo Konrath

New York Magazine’s July 18-31 issue features Amazon Labor Union leader Chris Smalls on the cover, with a profile by Wes Enzinna, “What Will the Amazon Slayer Do Next?” Enzinna looks at the challenges Smalls faces as the head of the first group in the country to successfully unionize an Amazon facility, including juggling newfound celebrity and remaining grounded when he’s being hailed as a “savior” to workers across the country. “This, [Smalls] stressed to me, is the burden of being Chris Smalls,” Enzinna writes. “Everyone—politicians, the media, his cheerleaders online, perhaps even some Amazon workers—expects him to fix what decades of weak labor laws, unrestrained corporate power, and growing inequality have created, and they expect him to do so with little political or institutional support.”

“In taking on Amazon, Chris Smalls has become the most important labor activist in this country, showing that a democratic, worker-led union can succeed where traditional unions have not. He’s also a fascinating figure, an ordinary person who has been thrust into a unique position of influence by dint of circumstance and the force of his personality. We wanted to find out who this person was and where he might go from here,” said features editor Ryu Spaeth.

Andreas Laszlo Konrath photographed Smalls for the cover, adorned in his layered gold chains, black and white bandana, and an “Eat the Rich” varsity jacket – the #uniondrip aesthetic that has captured the imagination of a new generation of blue-collar workers.

On the Cover of New York: The Organizer, Chris Smalls