Employees at the e-commerce company Wayfair are planning on staging a walkout tomorrow over an alleged decision to sell furniture to BCFS, a government contractor operating camps at the U.S. border that are detaining migrants. According to a tweet from the group of employees, they sent Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah a letter asking for the company to stop doing business with the contractor. Over 500 people allegedly signed the letter.
In response to a recent letter signed by 547 employees, our CEO said that the company would not cease doing business with contractors furnishing border camps. We ask that the company donate the $86,000 in profit they made from this sale to RAICES. #wayfairwalkout
— wayfairwalkout (@wayfairwalkout) June 25, 2019
Wayfair reportedly received an order from a government contractor for $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture to be sent to Carrizo Springs, Texas. “We believe that by selling these (or any) products to BCFS or similar contractors we are enabling this violation and are complicit in furthering the inhumane actions of our government,” the letter explained. It went on: “We believe that the current actions of the United States and their contractors at the Southern border do not represent an ethical business partnership Wayfair should choose to be a part of.”
The group of employees sent the letter last Friday and received a response Monday evening. “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,” Wayfair’s response to employees said, according to the Boston Globe. “We believe all of our stakeholders, employees, customers, investors, and suppliers included are best served by our commitment to fulfill our orders.”
People are already taking notice, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted in support of the employees:
Wayfair workers couldn’t stomach they were making beds to cage children.
They asked the company to stop. CEO said no.
Tomorrow, they’re walking out.
This is what solidarity looks like – a reminder that everyday people have real power, as long as we’re brave enough to use it. https://t.co/667abeLDTG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 25, 2019
As has the immigration legal services organization RAICES:
We applaud @Wayfair workers who are walking out to protest Wayfair profiting from detention centers.
— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) June 25, 2019
I reached out to Wayfair for comment and will update this post if I hear back. For now, we’ll wait to see if the national attention and work stoppage will prompt the company to change its tune.