Cool weather is coming, and with that means a rush of new customers for retailers such as Urban Outfitters, which in an email yesterday explained to salaried employees its strategy for keeping up with the fall rush: Please, won’t you work for free on the weekends?
The following email was sent out Tuesday afternoon to salaried employees at the Philadelphia-based home office URBN, the parent company that owns Urban itself, as well as Anthropologie and Free People.
Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2015 12:01 PM
Subject: A Call For URBN Volunteers!
A Call for URBN Volunteers!
URBN is seeking weekend volunteers to help out at our fulfillment center in Gap, PA. October will be the busiest month yet for the center, and we need additional helping hands to ensure the timely shipment of orders. As a volunteer, you will work side by side with your GFC colleagues to help pick, pack and ship orders for our wholesale and direct customers.
In addition to servicing the needs of our customers, it’s a great way to experience our fulfillment operations first hand. Get your co-workers together for a team building activity!
Who: Home Office URBN salaried employees
Where: URBN’s Fulfilment Center - 766 Brackbill Road, Gap, Pennsylvania 17527
What You’ll Be Doing: Pick, pack and prepare packages for shipment (please wear sneakers and comfortable clothing)
When: October 17, 18, 24, 25, and 31 Lunch will be provided
Two shifts each day: 9:00 AM – 3:00PM or 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
(you can volunteer for one or multiple days)
Transportation: If needed, URBN will provide transportation to and from GFC (details provided after sign up)
As you can see, URBN is explicitly asking its salaried employees to “pick, pack and prepare packages”—an actual job!—for free, with the only rewards being lunch and transportation.
The company, of course, is spinning it as a “team building activity” in which office-based employees will get the unique and invaluable opportunity to “experience our fulfillment operations first hand.” All the employees have to do is sacrifice weekend afternoons to travel to rural Pennsylvania.
Still, the email firstly and sternly notes that October is the busiest month for this particular fulfillment center, and the company needs “additional helping hands.” They just don’t want to pay the people those hands are attached to.
Update (7 p.m.) Here’s a statement from Urban. The employees love it!
After successfully opening our new fulfillment center in June, we asked salaried employees at our home office to volunteer for shifts that would help support the new center through a busy month of October. Unsurprisingly, we received a tremendous response, including many of our senior management. Many hourly employees also offered to pitch in – an offer which we appreciated, but declined in order to ensure full compliance with all applicable labor laws and regulations. The dedication and commitment of URBN employees are second to none, and their response to this request is a testament to their solidarity and continued success.
[image via Getty]