Over 500 Wayfair employees have signed a letter to the executive leadership of the Boston-based online housewares giant protesting the company's sale of bedroom furniture to a migrant detention center in Texas, and are planning to stage a Wednesday walkout according to the Boston Globe.
"We were disheartened and concerned about Wayfair’s business" with government contractor BCFS, an employee told the Globe.
Within hours, a group of 50 employees began drafting a letter to the company’s executive leadership, with included cofounders Niraj Shah, Steve Conine, and the entire board, outlining their concerns. More than 547 employees signed the letter before it was handed off to the leadership team. -Boston Globe
"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," reads the letter in part, which was submitted to management on Friday.
"This particular order, for over $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture, is destined for Carrizo Springs, Texas, to a facility that will be outfitted to detain up to 3,000 migrant children seeking legal asylum in the United States. The practice of detaining children and adults at our Southern border has been condemned since its inception but since the acceleration of the practice in 2018, and the increase in death and injury that has come with that acceleration, we have seen more vocal condemnation of the practice. We, the undersigned, are writing to you from a place of concern and anger about the atrocities being committed at our Southern border."
The 2020 Trump campaign Deputy Director of Communications, Matt Wolking, noted the irony:
Democrats: "There aren't enough beds or chairs for migrants crossing the border!"— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) June 25, 2019
Also Democrats: pic.twitter.com/WJU6ICg9bw
Wayfair management replied to the letter, essentially telling the employees to keep their opinions to pound sand.
"As business leaders, we also believe in the importance of respecting diversity of thought within our organization and across our customer base. 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. Your fellow employees hold a wide range of opinions and perspectives and Wayfair, as a mass-market brand, is oriented to serve a broad and diverse customer base," reads the reply.
Ahead of the planned walkout, Twitter account @wayfairwalkout was created, and now has nearly 10,000 followers as of this writing.
tl;dr - 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— wayfairwalkout (@wayfairwalkout) June 25, 2019
Supporting the walkout is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who tweeted on Tuesday "This is what solidarity looks like - a reminder that everyday people have real power, as long as we’re brave enough to use it."
Wayfair workers couldn’t stomach they were making beds to cage children.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 25, 2019
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. https://t.co/667abeLDTG
You are getting WayFair employees fired just like you lost New York jobs from Amazon if like @AOC losing money for you vote her back this is the truth about her for real #fireWayFairwalkout pic.twitter.com/s9I00VDtth— bryan rudnicki (@revs2300) June 25, 2019
Billionaire Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah grew up in Pittsfield Massachusetts. The son of Indian immigrants, Shah co-founded Wayfair in 2002 with Cornell classmate and current Wayfair CTO, Steve Conine. Shah has made political donations to a few Democrats, while contributing over $40,000 to the Republican National Committee.