Yves here. Wow, this is astonishingly cheeky. Good for Gawker catching Urban Outfitters out in an attempted violation of labor laws. It looks like the finesse the company attempted was to pressure salaried workers, since salaried workers are not subject to overtime payments. I’m curious to get expert reader input. I wonder if the snag was OSHA….or the terms of the insurance on the warehouse?
Plus I’d look to see if Urban Outfitters is a short. This is an awfully desperate effort to contain costs. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from a company that is worried about missing its forecasts.
By Kali Holloway. Originally published at Alternet
Over the last few years, Urban Outfitters has become known for three things (outside of carrying overpriced clothes that fall apart the first time you wash them): 1) Offending every possible marginalized group under the sun with apparel that features really tasteless messages; 2) allegedly stealing designs from up-and-coming artists and selling them as their own; and 3) having a president and CEO, Richard Hayne, who has given money to anti-gay marriage crusader Rick Santorum and other Republican politicians. Now the company is making news for its boldest action yet: asking employees to work for free!
Gawker got hold of an email sent to salaried employees of URBN, which is the company that owns Urban Outfitters, on Tuesday. Note how it suggests that taking part will help build camaraderie:
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)
How: Sign up using this link and we will be in touch with more details. Please do not show up without signing up.
That’s an interesting request from a company that’s been posting earnings that outpaced predictions over the last three quarters.
After the Gawker post went up, URBN – which also owns Free People and Anthropologie – sent the site this message:
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.
See? Everyone loves working for free, I’m sure, and didn’t feel any pressure to come in when they would rather be anywhere than work…for free.