Wayfair Employees Staging a Walkout to Protest the Sale of Mattresses to Children’s Detention Camps

Ivana V. Image
ByIvana V.
June 26,2019

Employees of the eCommerce home goods retailer announced a walkout from the company headquarters in Boston, MA this Wednesday to express their disagreement with the company’s decision to sell furniture to children’s detention camps at the Mexican border.

Last week, Wayfair employees learned about the order of 1,600 mattresses and 100 bunk beds to be delivered to the Baptist Children’s Family Services (BCFS), a nonprofit organization that operates as a federal contractor managing some of the camps along the southern border.

According to a copy of the sales receipt, mattresses worth $200,000 were paid for on June 13, and the delivery is scheduled for today and tomorrow. BCFS, which runs migrant facilities for the Department of Health and Human Services, is expected to open a new one in Carrizo Springs, TX. The facility will accommodate some 1,600 unaccompanied children detained at the Mexican border.

In the midst of a migrant crisis that is shaking the nation, more than 500 Wayfair employees decided to express their “concerns and anger about the atrocities being committed at the Southern border” in a letter addressed to the company’s senior management. 

"The United States government and its contractors are responsible for the detention and mistreatment of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in our country — we want that to end," the letter reads. "We also want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, or profiting from this practice."

Organizers of the protest, who chose to stay anonymous for fear of losing their jobs, posted the undated letter sent to the company management to a Twitter account called Wayfairwalkout yesterday.

They also shared a copy of the retailer’s response, which says Wayfair has no intention of dropping  BCFS as a customer. 

"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," the Wayfair's leadership team replied. "This does not indicate support for the opinions or actions of the groups or individuals who purchase from us."

Upon receiving such a response, the workers announced a protest that will be held today afternoon at Boston’s Copley Square, in front of the company headquarters. 

One of the employees who spoke to CNN underlined that the walkout is "not meant as a censure on Wayfair," but as a way to show workers' continued concern about the inhuman conditions in which minors are being kept at detention camps.

Employees also urge the leadership team to donate all the profits made from the sale of beds and mattresses to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, a nonprofit organization that operates in Texas, reuniting separated immigrant families. According to the Wayfairwalkout Twitter account, the profits amount to $86,000.

Wayfair stocks went down 5% on Tuesday.

About the author

Ivana is a staff writer at SmallBizGenius. Her interests during office hours include writing about small businesses, start-ups, and retail. When the weekend comes, you can find her hiking in nature, hanging off of a cliff or dancing salsa.

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