The Slatest

Wayfair Employees to Walk Out in Protest of Furniture Sales to Migrant Detention Centers Holding Children

Tents at the U.S. Border Patrol station where lawyers reported that detained migrant children were held unbathed and hungry on June 25, 2019 in Clint, Texas.
Tents at the U.S. Border Patrol station where lawyers reported that detained migrant children were held unbathed and hungry on Tuesday in Clint, Texas.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Employees at the online furniture seller Wayfair are planning to walk off the job Wednesday afternoon at the company’s Boston headquarters to protest its sale of furniture to be used in border shelters for migrant children. Last week, employees discovered the company had sold $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture to the government contractor BCFS, which is responsible for managing camps at the border. That prompted more than 500 employees to sign on to a letter of protest to management; when Wayfair refused to change course, the employees organized a work stoppage.

“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 employees said in the letter. “We also want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, or profiting from this practice.” The employees specifically asked the company to donate the profit from the sale—some $86,000—to the nonprofit RAICES that supports families on the border, as well as establish a code of ethics for future sales.

The company rebuffed employee demands to, essentially, vet its customers. “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 management said in the letter of response to the employees. “This does not indicate support for the opinions or actions of the groups or individuals who purchase from us.”