Human Capital & Careers

Wayfair Workers Protest Furniture Sales to Migrant Detention Centers

Employees are planning a walkout in protest of the company fulfilling orders for furniture sent to U.S. detention camps for migrant children.

Wayfair employees are staging a walkout of the company’s headquarters in Boston after the online retailer’s management rejected their calls to stop supplying furniture to immigration detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The United States government and its contractors are responsible for the detention and mistreatment of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in our country,” the employees wrote. “We want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, or profiting from this practice.”

The employees, in a letter posted on Twitter, cited an order for about $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture placed by Baptist Children’s Family Services, which operates migrant facilities for the Department of Health and Human Services.

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In a response letter, Wayfair management said it would not stop doing business with BCFS, adding, “As a retailer, it is standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers and we believe it is our business to sell to any customer who is acting within the laws of the countries within which we operate.”

BCFS is set to open a new facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, where about 1,600 mattresses and 100 bunk beds are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a receipt.

The employees from Wayfair have asked the company to donate the profits, $86,000, to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. The are also called on the company to cease doing business with “contractors participating in operation of migrant detention camps,” and to “establish a code of ethics for B2B sales that empowers employees to act in accordance with Wayfair’s core values.”

Vox, citing an unnamed employee who attended the meeting, reported cofounder Steve Conine held a meeting with employees to discuss concerns. Conine, according to the employee, said the company would donate money but did not give specifics, though he ruled out donations to the ACLU.

Wayfair has more than 12,000 employees.

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