Mary Markos, Boston Herald
Wayfair employees say they’ll walk out on Wednesday after the Boston-based company rejected their demand to stop doing business with a government contractor that is supplying detention centers on the Mexican border.
A Twitter account created for the walkout outlines the details of the demonstration in Copley Square at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, and claims that when a petition signed by 547 employees asked “that we cease all business with border camps; CEO said no.”
Screen shots of the petition and a letter in response from management were posted on Twitter yesterday, sparking a debate on Wayfair’s involvement in what leading Democrats in controversial remarks have been calling “concentration camps” in the Southern border. The detention centers house migrants while their asylum petitions are assessed.
“Over the last two days it has come to our attention that Wayfair has again engaged in B2B sales with BCFS, a non-profit government contractor managing camps for migrants at our Southern border,” the petition reads. “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 order was for over $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture for a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, that will be outfitted to detain up to 3,000 migrant children seeking asylum in the U.S., according to the petition. The employees wrote that they “want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting or profiting from this practice.”
Employees are calling on the company to donate all profits made from the sale to RAICES, a Texas-based nonprofit for immigration legal services.
In a response from leadership that was posted on Twitter, the company said, “No matter how strongly any one of us feels about an issue, it is important to keep in mind that not all employees or customers agree. … 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.”
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who sparked controversy by comparing the detention centers to Nazi concentration camps — and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders have both sounded off on the Wayfair walkout.
“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,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
“I stand with the workers at Wayfair who are walking out tomorrow to protest the treatment of asylum seekers at the border. We cannot be a nation that stands for locking up little children. What these workers are doing is brave and necessary,” Sanders wrote.
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