Wayfair employees to stage walkout over border camps furniture contract

26 Jun 2019

Image: opturadesign/Depositphotos

Employees at e-commerce giant Wayfair have planned a walkout in protest of the company providing US border camps with bedroom furniture.

Employees of e-commerce giant Wayfair have planned a walkout today (26 June) at 1:30pm ET in protest of the company agreeing to fulfil a $200,000 contract with a government contractor managing border camps in the US.

The walkout at the Boston headquarters comes after, according to Twitter account @wayfairwalkout, more than 500 Wayfair employees signed a petition asking the CEO to cease all business with border camps. It also asked the company to provide all profits (allegedly $86,000) to immigration non-profit RAICES.

The group of employees is further demanding that the company establish a code of ethics for B2B sales that empowers employees

“We believe 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 letter signed by the employees explained.

Through a contract with BCFS, Wayfair would be furnishing a camp in Carrizo Springs, Texas where up to 3,000 migrant children will be detained, according to employees.

In response to the protest, the Wayfair leadership team said: “We understand why you feel so strongly about this matter and we appreciate your passion and commitment.

“We support the rights of all individuals to engage in their communities to drive change on the topics and issues they care about.

“As business leaders, we also believe in the importance of respecting diversity of thought within our organisation and across our customer base … As a retailer, it is standard practice to fulfil orders for all customers.”

Political support

Politicians and organisations alike have praised the move, including RAICES, the non-profit to which the Wayfair employees proposed donating profits.

“We applaud Wayfair workers who are walking out to protest Wayfair profiting from detention centres,” a comment from the official RAICES Twitter account reads. “No one who works for a company profiting from these camps should be standing idly by as children are dying.”

The walkout has also garnered attention from US senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, all of whom have publicly praised and pledged their support towards the action.

Representatives from Wayfair have not responded to requests for comment at time of publication.

Tech employees hit back

This is not the first instance in which employees of prominent tech companies have protested supporting US border camps. When Microsoft announced the partnership of its Azure cloud platform with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), anonymous employees told Gizmodo that they were contemplating leaving.

Similarly, a dozen Google employees reportedly quit their jobs last year over the company’s collaboration with the US military through a scheme called Project Maven, which involved using its AI technology to improve the strike accuracy of military drones.

View of Wayfair icon on mobile app screen. Image: opturadesign/Depositphotos.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic