Wayfair employees plan walkout over $200K furniture order to immigration detention facility

By RetailFOXBusiness

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Employees of online furniture retailer Wayfair on Tuesday said they will stage a walkout Wednesday to protest the company’s decision to sell furniture for use in immigration detention facilities at the U.S. southern border.

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The planned protest arose days after Wayfair employees learned that the company had received a $200,000 order for furniture from BCFS, a nonprofit government contractor that operates detention facilities, the Boston Globe reported, citing an employee with knowledge of the situation. A group of more than 500 Wayfair employees signed a letter last week asking company executives to cease business dealings with contractors operating at the border.

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Wayfair executives confirmed receipt of the letter but said they would not cancel the order. In protest, Wayfair employees said they would walk out of the company’s Boston offices at 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday and demanded that all proceeds be donated to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, a nonprofit which supports immigrant families.

“Wayfair sold beds to furnish border camps; 547 employees signed a petition to ask that we cease all business with border camps; CEO said no —>employees are walking out tmrw at 1:30pm. We ask that Wayfair donate all profits made from the sale to RAICES #WayfairWalkout,” employees wrote on a Twitter account set up to coordinate the protest.

Wayfair representatives did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

In the letter to Wayfair executives, employees said, “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,” adding that they “want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting or profiting from this practice.”

The protest drew support from House. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, who is a frequent critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

“This is what solidarity looks like - a reminder that everyday people have real power, as long as we’re brave enough to use it,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.

Wayfair executives praised employees for speaking out about their beliefs, but said in a response letter that the order would proceed as scheduled.

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“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 executives’ letter said, according to the Globe. “We believe all of our stakeholders, employees, customers, investors, and suppliers included are best served by our commitment to fulfill our orders.”

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