In response to the growing humanitarian and public relations crisis, the Trump Administration, through a contractor BCFS, placed a $200,000 order for beds from online retailer Wayfair. Following this purchase order, employees at the company’s Boston headquarters began organizing. A petition was passed around and 547 employees signed it. Their demands were simple, either stop working with BCFS or donate the $86,000 in profit to RAICES, an immigrant rights organization that works on issues at the border.
After the petition was sent to the bosses, co-founder Steve Conine convened a staff meeting to explain the company’s decision. At the meeting, Conine stated that while he was personally opposed to the camps, he claimed that Wayfair has a “duty not to be a discriminatory business.” He ultimately rejected the worker’s demands. You can listen to some audio from the meeting by clicking here.
As a result of this meeting, Wayfair employees announced that they would be holding a walkout on Wednesday. The walkout was then amplified on Twitter by Congresswomen Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Presidential Candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders retweeting the call to action.
On Wednesday at 1:30 PM, hundreds of employees and outside supporters marched out of work and assembled in front of Trinity Church in Boston’s Copley Square. As a marching band played, protestors chanted and held signs that said things like “Wayfair Making Concentration Camps Home Again.” Many at the rally said that they would stop shopping at Wayfair so as not to be complicit in supporting the detention of minors in subhuman conditions.
In an effort to stop the protest, Wayfair announced on Wednesday morning that they would make a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross. However, the Red Cross is not currently administering aid to people in these camps.