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We Support Wayfair Workers Walkout

JLC Supports demands that Wayfair donate profits made by selling goods to operators of facilities running detention centers at the southern US border

June 26, 2019: New York, NY -- The Jewish Labor Committee supports the Wayfair workers who walked out of the company’s headquarters in Boston’s Copley Square today to protest the company’s decision to sell furniture to the operators of facilities for migrant children detained by the U.S. government at the southern border. Members of the New England JLC, led by Regional Director Ari Fertig, joined the walkout in solidarity with the Wayfair workers.

4 web 2 NE JLC Regional Director Ari Fertig at Wayfair workers walkout June 26 2019.jpg

The Wayfair employees, outraged about the conditions facing children at the migrant detention centers, had presented a letter signed by 547 employees, to the Wayfair management. The letter called on the U.S. government to end “the detention and mistreatment of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in our country.” Further, the employees’ letter stated, “we also want to make sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, and profiting from this practice.”

When Wayfair refused to stop selling furnishings to the operators of the detention centers, the workers decided to engage in a walk out, calling for the company to donate the $86,000 in profit they made from this sale to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a non-profit which provides free legal advocacy services for immigrants and refugees.

“Our history informs us on what refugees and immigrants confront,” said Fertig. “Workers understand how hard it is to make demands of your employer, and we salute these brave workers now. That’s why the Jewish Labor Committee stands in solidarity with Wayfair workers. It is imperative that we fight for the safety and well-being of children at our border.”

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, said that this immediate crisis needs to be confronted both on the southern border and in the countries from which these refugees are fleeing. “The violence, poverty and oppression in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are forcing men, women and children to flee for their safety and in many cases their lives.”

The Jewish Labor Committee believes unequivocally that

§ it is wrong to profit from a humanitarian crisis.

§ U.S. authorities must take responsibility so that these migrants on both sides of the border are treated humanely and with the dignity that all people deserve;

§ This crisis is not only the massive waves of immigrants trying to get into the United States, but primarily a social, economic and political crisis in the countries from which they are leaving;

§ all people in the U.S., regardless of immigration status, must be treated with basic dignity and respect.