Wayfair Workers Walk Out Over Business With Migrant Detention CenterJune 27, 2019
Hundreds of outraged Wayfair employees at the company’s Boston headquarters walked off the job Wednesday to protest the online retailer’s business with a contractor that operates migrant detention centers.
Workers learned last week that the furniture outlet sold $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture to a government contractor called BCFS for the purpose of outfitting an immigrant detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, reportedly capable of detaining 1,600 migrant children.
Employees greeted the news by sending a letter to Wayfair’s leadership team, urging the company to desist from “enabling, supporting, or profiting” from “the detention and mistreatment of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in our country.”
“Knowing what’s going on at the southern border and knowing that Wayfair has the potential to profit from it is pretty scary,” Elizabeth Good, a Wayfair manager who helped organize the protest, told the Boston Globe on Tuesday.
“I want to work at a company where the standards we hold ourselves to are the same standards that we hold our customers and our partners to,” she said.
In a bid to mollify employees, Wayfair is reportedly donating profits from the sale to charity. A request for comment from the company seeking a specific charity and dollar amount was not immediately returned.
Per walkout organizers, it will be a $100,000 donation to the Red Cross, which they note “has nothing to do with these ICE-operated facilities.”
“We are not against beds, we are against profiting off the detention of children,” an unverified Twitter account claiming to represent the workers wrote. “A prison with a bed is still a prison.”
We are not against beds, we are against profiting off the detention of children.
Political figures including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have also voiced their support for the protest.
Wayfair executives responded with a letter of their own, thanking employees for “expressing [their] thoughts and opinions,” and informing them the company would nevertheless continue to do business with “any customer who is acting within the laws of the countries within which we operate.”