Leftist mobs employed by the likes of Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft have attempted – often successfully – to pressure their bosses to discontinue contracts with the federal government over policies they disagree with.
The most recent example of such pressure tactics is against the online furniture retailer Wayfair, which last week was subject to an employee walk-out in Boston to protest the company’s contract to provide beds for Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS), a nonprofit organization that operates detention centers for illegally-present migrant children in Texas. The workers objected to the $200,000 sale over the characterization of the facilities as “concentration camps” by Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The centers are reportedly filling up (and overfilling) with unaccompanied migrant children who are showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border, and CBP – unequipped to handle the mass incursion – has been trying to deal with the crisis the best it can, according to the Trump administration. Of course leftists don’t believe that, but at least Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer finally caved and Democrats joined Republicans in Congress to pass long-sought $4.5 billion in aid for the border emergency last week.
While the mobs haven’t shown up with their pitchforks at the Speaker’s or Senate Minority Leader’s doors over that massive deal (which certainly includes some bed funding), they have engaged their allies on social media (with the hashtags “#WayfairWalkout” and “#BoycottWayfair”) to attempt to bully the company’s executives out of the deal. This is for just $200,000 worth of bedding intended to help alleviatethe deficiencies at BCFS’s facilities, which tells you the protesters are more interested in using the children as political pawns rather than end any suffering they may experience.
“Those who are protesting Wayfair’s sale of beds for unaccompanied alien children need to ask themselves what the alternative should be to keep the children comfortable,” said Evelyn Stauffer, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, in a statement. As for BCFS, they said, “We believe youth should sleep in beds with mattresses.”
The executives, Wayfair co-founders Steve Conine and Niraj Shah, so far have held their ground. On Wednesday, in a letter to employees, the pair wrote:
“As business leaders, we also believe in the importance of respecting diversity of thought within our organization and across our customer base. 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. Your fellow employees hold a wide range of opinions and perspectives and Wayfair, as a mass-market brand, is oriented to serve a broad and diverse customer base.
“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. We believe all of our stakeholders, employees, customers, investors and suppliers included, are best served by our commitment to fulfill all orders. This does not indicate support for the opinions or actions of the groups or individuals who purchase from us.”
Conine and Shah seem to have gone to great lengths to run their company without a taint of politics. In one interview, with Xconomy.com, about Wayfair’s business philosophy, Conine said, “This business, retail, it’s a business of, it’s the old adage, the customer comes first. If you are delivering an experience that is superior in the customer’s mind, you will continue to do well…Just keep focusing on the customer.”
And it doesn’t appear they have avoided that appearance because they are secretly conservatives. When Fox News personality Laura Ingraham mocked gun control activist David Hogg last year, Wayfair was among the companies that pulled advertising from the program (also amid liberal pressure). Conine is apparently apolitical, while Shah has donated to both Democrats and Republicans.
In a meeting with employees the day before the walkout to discuss their concerns, Conine refused to comply with their demands to “cease all current and future business with … contractors participating in operation of migrant detention camps,” according to an anonymous employee who spoke to Vox. He rejected their characterization of the facilities as “concentration camps,” despite employees’ insistance that they are. Finally he agreed for the company to make a donation to charity, but refused to do so to any politically tainted organization such as the ACLU. The company ended up giving $100,000 to the American Red Cross, which the malcontents complained had nothing to do with the migrant children holding facilities.
“We’re not a political entity,” Conine reportedly told employees, according to The Atlantic. “We’re not trying to take a political side in this…There are hundreds of organizations every day that we’re selling to that many of us in this room would not approve of … We also feel like we have a duty not to be a discriminatory business.”
Ironically, BCFS was sought by President Obama in 2014 to care for illegal alien children crossing the border, according to Time. So apparently the organization had a good reputation when a Democrat was running things.
But these days it’s hard for the Left to let any good apolitical deed go unpunished.