Boston Wayfair workers threaten walkout over sale to U.S. immigrant camp




 

BOSTON, June 26 (Reuters) - Hundreds of employees of Wayfair Inc are expected to walk off the job on Wednesday in protest of what they said was the retailer's sale of more than $200,000 in bedroom furniture for a Texas detention facility for migrant children.

The protest, in the online furniture retailer's home city of Boston, marks the latest outpouring of anger over Republican U.S. President Donald Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal and legal immigration. It has drawn the support of high-profile Democrats including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Massachusetts U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

The 1:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT) walkout follows a letter signed by more than 500 employees earlier this week that said an order for more than $200,000 of bedroom furniture was destined for a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas that would house migrant children seeking asylum.

It demanded that Wayfair stop selling to migrant detention camps and that it give profits of the sale, which they claim amount to $86,000, to a Texas-based non-profit agency offering legal services to immigrants.

"This is a peaceful voluntary walkout & we encourage any Wayfairians to join us," protest organizers said on a Twitter account named @wayfairwalkout. "We oppose & reject the behavior of our government at the Southern Border."

Wayfair did not respond to a request for comment. The @wayfairwalkout account referred Reuters to the company and Reuters was not able to confirm it was created by Wayfair employees.

Wayfair management rejected the petition's demands in an internal memo on Tuesday, according to the Boston Globe.

"We also believe in the importance of respecting diversity of thought within our organization and across our customer base," the unsigned letter read, according to the newspaper. "No matter how strongly any one of us feels about an issue, it is important to keep in mind that not all employees or customers agree."

Criticism has mounted this week over the detention of migrant children in overcrowded, squalid conditions. (Reporting by Tim McLaughlin, additional reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)

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