It started with a plan for an employee walkout.

By Christopher Luu
Updated: Jun 26, 2019 @ 11:03 am

Last Friday, Wayfair co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine, along with members of the company's board, were faced with a list of employee signatures nearly 550 strong. After finding out government contractor BCFS submitted a $200,000 order for bedroom furniture, employees quickly connected the dots and realized that the beds were actually for migrant detention centers along the United States' southern border. Newsweek reports that those 550 employees sent the Wayfair co-founders a letter voicing their concerns over the morality of the order and how they planned to walk out on Wednesday. 

"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," the letter reads. "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."

Jenny Kane/AP/Shutterstock

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Employees reportedly received a response on Monday, though it wasn't what they were hoping for. Wayfair's response did mention that it appreciates its employee's concerns and respects its staff and its ideas, but it also mentioned standard business practices that outline fulfilling all orders.

"As a retailer, it is standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers and we believe it is our business to sell to any customer who is acting within the laws of the countries within which we operate," the response reads. "We believe all of our stakeholders, employees, customers, investors, and suppliers included are best served by our commitment to fulfill our orders."

The walkout is still planned for Wednesday and employees are imploring Wayfair to donate all proceeds from the order to organizations that are assisting the refugees and migrant families at the border, such as Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a nonprofit that offers legal assistance to immigrants. Bloomberg reports that BCFS's order could make Wayfair as much as $86,000 in profit.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the many that voiced their support for Wayfair employees planning to participate in the walkout. Twitter users rallied with the #wayfairwalkout hashtag to back up her sentiment, with some going so far as canceling orders with the home goods site.

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