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Wayfair faces worker outrage over sales to border camp contractors

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2018

    This photo shows the Wayfair website on a computer in New York.

Employees at Wayfair Inc. are planning to walk out in protest of the online furniture retailer’s alleged business with contractors that are furnishing border camps for asylum seekers, according to an unverified Twitter thread.

Workers at the company’s Boston headquarters will walk off the job at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and meet at the city’s Copley Square to protest, according to a Twitter user called @wayfairwalkout, whose first Tweet was written today. The post says 547 employees signed a letter to the company’s management urging it to cease business with contractors involved in the detention camps and establish a code of ethics for Wayfair’s business-to-business sales.

According to the post, the company will make $86,000 from sales to those contractors furnishing the camps. Workers are demanding the profits be donated to Raices, a nonprofit agency that offers legal services to immigrants.

Wayfair didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg News.

Another Twitter user posted an image of what it said was the management team’s internal response to the employee letter, stating it’s “standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers.” The company did not reply to a request to verify the authenticity of the response.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on Twitter, too, telling her more than 4 million followers that “this is what solidarity looks like.”

Civil action has swelled against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies in recent weeks, with outrage growing following reports that refugee children are being separated from parents and detained in poor conditions.

Some Twitter users shared the #wayfairwalkout hashtag and said they’d be pulling their orders from the retailer, though others said they’d rather the migrants in detention have beds.

The employee letter said the deal in question was with BCFS, a non-profit government contractor managing camps for migrants at the Mexican border. BCFS, which lists the Border Patrol and U.S. Department of Homeland Security as partners, did not immediately provide a comment when contacted by phone.

Wayfair’s share price was down 5% as of 2:44 p.m. in New York. The stock is up about 60% since the start of the year.

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