Wayfair Employees Walk Out to Protest Sales to Immigrant Detention Centers

Wayfair employees walked out of their Boston offices Wednesday afternoon to protest the sale of beds to immigrant detention centers in Texas.

06/26/2019
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Wayfair walkout

UPDATE 6.27.19: On Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of Wayfair employees and supporters took to Boston’s Copley Square in protest of the company’s reported $200,000 sale of bedroom furniture to a government contractor managing a Texas detention facility for migrant children. 

In their original letter, protesting employees asked that the company donate the estimated $86,000 in profits from the sale to RAICES, a Texas immigration legal services nonprofit. Ahead of the protest, Wayfair officials announced plans to donate $100,000 to the Red Cross. The @wayfairwalkout Twitter account responded to this announcement via a Tweet: “[email protected] stated in an email today that they will be making a donation of $100k to the @RedCross. This is great news! And proof that Wayfair can & does do good. However, the Red Cross has nothing to do with these ICE-operated facilities.”

Original story below:

Hundreds of employees were reported to be planning a walkout over Wayfair Inc.'s alleged sale of more than $200,000 in bedroom furniture for a Texas detention facility for migrant children, according to a Reuter's report.

A Twitter account under the handle @wayfairwalkout, created this month with a following of more than 13,000 called for the work stop on Wednesday.

Wayfair, headquartered in Boston, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The @wayfairwalkout account referred Reuters to the company and Reuters was not able to confirm it was created by Wayfair employees.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter: “I stand with hundreds of @Wayfair employees who are planning to stage a walkout at their Boston headquarters tomorrow. The safety and well-being of immigrant children is always worth fighting for.”

An image of a letter to Wayfair leaders from employees said that an order for more than $200,000 of bedroom furniture was destined for a facility in Carrizo Springs, TX, that would house migrant children seeking asylum.

Criticism has mounted this week over the detention of migrant children in overcrowded, squalid conditions.
“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,” @wayfairwalkout tweeted.

It demanded that Wayfair stop selling to migrant detention camps and that it give profits, which they claim amount to $86,000, to a Texas-based non-profit agency offering legal services to immigrants.

Screenshots on Twitter of a letter to employees that said it was from the retailer’s “leadership team” read, “...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 walkout, scheduled to take place on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. ET in Boston’s Copley Square, is the latest example of employees protesting workplace social issues.

Shares of the company fell 5.3% to $144.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The hashtag “#wayfairwalkout” was trending in the United States on Twitter as of Tuesday evening.

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