Wayfair Made a Huge Donation to Charity — But People Are Still Mad
The company's response to employee protest stoked even more ire.
In the wake of news that Wayfair employees were planning a walkout in protest of the company's fulfillment of an order for furniture that would be used in migrant detention centers, the online furniture retailer responded with a big donation to charity — which contributed to even further outrage.
On Wednesday afternoon, employees at the company's Boston, Mass. headquarters walked out in protest of Wayfair's $200,000 order for bedroom furniture for migrant detention centers along the United States's southern border. Last Friday, 550 employees signed a letter to Wayfair co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine, along with members of the company's board, expressing their concerns over the morality of the order, and explaining that they would be walking out.
Ahead of the walkout, the company sent an email to employees, stating that they would be donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross. The letter, obtained by CNN, stated that the donation was to support Red Cross "in their effort to help those in dire need of basic necessities at the border."
However, employees participating in the walkout tweeted that the Red Cross "has nothing to do with these ICE-operated facilities," and that they had asked for donations to be made to RAICES (the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), a nonprofit that offers legal assistance to immigrants.
News of the donation caused ire amongst people who called the company out for its muted response.
Prior to the donation, the company reportedly sent a response to employees regarding their concerns, but it wasn't exactly what they were hoping for.
"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 read. "We believe all of our stakeholders, employees, customers, investors, and suppliers included are best served by our commitment to fulfill our orders."