Labor Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters Coke Whitworth/AP Photo

URBN, based in Philadelphia, owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People.

October 08, 2015

Urban Outfitters finds source of free labor: its workers

Parent company of Urban, Anthropologie and Free People asks salaried workers to volunteer at fulfillment center

What could be a better team-building exercise than packing and shipping boxes? Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters thinks so because on Tuesday it sent out an email, leaked to Gawker, that asked its salaried employees to work for free over the weekend at its Lancaster County warehouse.

The company URBN, which owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People, said in the e-mail that October "will be the busiest month yet for the center," which opened this June.

It then asked workers to volunteer for a six-hour shift on weekends throughout the month in order to prepare packages for customers of the three stores.

"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!" the e-mail said.

Transportation and lunch are provided, but other than that the manual labor is its own reward.

"We received a tremendous response, including many of our senior management," an Urban Outfitters representative told Gawker. "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."

Urban Outfitters' new fulfillment center cost $106 million to build, is 21 acres in size and has over 13,000 solar panels on the roof, Lancaster Online reported.

The company told the news site in April that it would hire around 500 hourly workers plus 25 supervisors and that the minimum pay would be $10.80 an hour for a person with no work experience.

URBN's career page on its website still shows a job ad for a material handler at the fulfillment center, with a post date of September 22.