Employees at the furniture retailer Wayfair are reportedly walking out on Wednesday in response to the company allegedly selling beds to a government contractor that is furnishing a migrant detention center at the border.
According to a Twitter account purporting to represent the workers, 547 employees signed a letter to the company leadership team expressing their concern over the company allegedly selling more than $200,000 in bedroom furniture to non-profit government contractor BCFS to furnish a 3,000-person child detention facility in Carrizo Springs, TX.
The account asked that Wayfair donate the $86,000 it allegedly made of the sale with BCFS to Raices, the Texas non-profit organizing legal services for refugees and immigrants. Last year, people raised more than $20 million for the organization amid the family separation crisis.
The letter, shared to Twitter by another account and retweeted by the walkout’s account, was arranged by 50 employees, according to the Boston Globe, and addressed cofounders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine.
The writers asked that Wayfair end “all current and future business with BCFS and other contractors” similarly contributing the the detention of migrants, and “establish a code for B2B Sales” in accordance with the core values of the company and its employees.
BCFS’s website lists CBP and DHS as partners. The Texas Tribune has also reported that federal officials are planning to convert a former oilfield worker housing compound in the city into an “emergency shelter” for 1,600 children.
The employee letter also alleged that Wayfair previous sold furniture to BCFS to outfit the notorious Tornillo, TX, tent camp in September. “Concerns about this were...surfaced to leadership but no action was taken,” a footnote of the letter states.
In response, the Globe reported, the company sent a letter telling employees that “we believe it is our business to sell to any customer who is acting within the laws of the countries within which we operate.” Just a reminder: U.S. Customs and Border Protection was found violating the rights of children in detaining them past the current legal 20-day limit just last week. Wayfair confirmed to the Globe that it sent the letter, but declined to comment further.
According to the Twitter account promoting the walkout, Wayfair workers are responding in kind. The people behind the account asked that fellow employees at the Copley Square headquarters in Boston walk out on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
The hashtag and tweets have garnered attention from former Wayfair customers, with many of them vowing to abandon their business with the company.
On Twitter, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—who, along with several other House Democrats, has demanded that a proposed House bill for emergency border funding not contribute to enforcement—commended the walkout account, tweeting, “This is what solidarity looks like.”
The walkout’s account began accruing thousands of likes and retweets hours after a CBP official told the New York Times that more than a hundred children who had previously been relocated from a border processing facility in Clint, TX, found to be unsanitary and keeping children in poor health were being relocated back to the disturbing conditions of the facility.
We’ve reached out to an email contact for the Wayfair walkout, to Wayfair, and to BCFS for comment, and will update this post if we hear back. If you’re a Wayfair employee participating in the walkouts, we’d like to hear from you. Please email us as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update, 6/26/19, 11:20 a.m. ET: In an emailed statement, BCFS Executive Vice President of External Affairs Krista Piferrer told Splinter, “We believe youth should sleep in beds with mattresses.” Piferrer directed further comment to the Department of Health and Human Services.