Last week, workers for the ecommerce retailer Wayfair threatened to storm out from the company’s H.Q. to dispute the sales of furniture to immigrant imprisonment facilities.
Wayfair staff claim the retailer has been selling bedroom furniture to refugee centers for some time. One female worker even leaked out a deal worth $200,000 to supply furniture to international nonprofit BCFS which runs migrant centers on behalf of the Health & Human Services Department. The nonprofit has plans to roll out a new center in Texas and will host over 1500 minors.
According to CNN, over 500 staff wrote to the company’s executive management requesting Wayfair to stop its dealings with BCFS. The employees also asked the retailer to set up a code of conduct to control the activities of Wayfair and its workers.
“The U.S. federal authorities and its service provider are to blame for the confinement and ill-treatment of thousands of immigrants seeking refuge in our nation— that should stop,” the workers wrote in the warning letter. “Wayfair should also confirm that it has no role in facilitating, backing, or making a profit from this practice.”
Wayfair’s executive management, however, declined to submit to these requests, and wrote back to its staff in a letter, as leaked by CNN.
“As a dealer, it is a legal and normal practice to complete orders for all Wayfair customers. We are willing to do business with any customer who acts in compliance with the rules and regulations of the nations in which we run stores,” said the Wayfair management.
“That, however, does not mean Wayfair supports the activities or opinions of the organizations or groups it sells to.”
Meanwhile, Wayfair staff told CNN that the demonstrations were “not intended as a reproach on Wayfair,” rather, as a way to express the workforce’s growing concerns.
The letter to the Wayfair’s executive management also requested the retailer to donate all the profits it rakes in from furniture dealings to RAICES— a not-for-profit organization that rejoins relatives at the border.
The rumors of the storm out stirred up mixed reactions from netizens, particularly in Twitter, where country leaders expressed their disappointment towards Wayfair. Hashtag #wayfairwalkout trended for some time, and criticisms against the retailer were heated up.
A New York Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defined the scenario as “what solidarity looks like.” He said the move to take industrial action was a perfect example of the power of ordinary citizens.
This is not the first case of immigrant children being kept under custody during President Trump’s reign. We’ve had such cases before. Let’s not forget the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy and how it led to the separation of immigrant families.
Another case was the Walmart issue, where the federal authorities took over the nationwide retailer’s Brownsville Texas-based store and turned it into an immigrant facility.
Author Bio: Melissa Rayner is the proud owner of Trader Boys, where you buy office furniture in Los Angeles. When she isn’t running her family business, she’s busy spending her weekends with her children and 3 cherished grand children.