BCFS, a Texan outsourcing outfit, describes itself as “a global system of health and human services non-profit organisations with locations and programmes throughout the US” and worldwide. Its website claims expertise in delivering “humanitarian aid”, medical and healthcare, and empowering people with disabilities.
Not mentioned, however, is the fact that it also equips and runs detention centres for migrant children crossing the Texas/Mexican border. These brand new privatised concentration camps, commissioned by the US government to serve as a “temporary emergency influx facility”, have now suddenly closed down amid a storm of criticism.
Helping to stoke that storm, staff at the Boston-based homeware suppliers Wayfair walked off the job when they discovered that their company had been supplying BCFS with $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture to kit out a new camp in Texas.
Hundreds of Wayfair employees signed a petition demanding that Wayfair should stop “enabling, supporting or profiting from” companies running such camps, and striking workers filled a square in Boston. A Twitter account, @wayfairwalkout garnered 24,000 followers, spreading awareness of the action far beyond the town, and raised money for an immigration legal services charity.
Now the camp has been forced to close, showing what workers can achieve by collective action. (New Texas detention centre for migrant children to close by Christine Bolanos, The Guardian, 23 July 2019)