The 'Real' Minimum Wage Exposed: Urban Outfitters Asks Staff To Work Weekends For Free

It appears there is a minimum wage threshold below President Obama's mandated thresholds that are "fair" and "livable." As NYPost reports, Urban Outfitters has asked workers at the company’s home office to "volunteer" for extra weekend shifts at a new fulfillment center in the town of Gap, Pennsylvania. In other words, the true minimum wage is $0 per hour.

In an email, the company asked for weekend workers to “pick, pack and prepare packages for shipment.” The three brands beneath the Urban umbrella are Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Free People.

 

Volunteers would work six-hour shifts in exchange for lunch and transportation, if required. The email advises participants to wear “sneakers and comfortable clothing” to prepare for this “team building activity.”

 

The picking, packing and preparing that’s required are jobs that normally pay wages. But this sort of request is a common occurrence in the industry when there’s a new fulfillment center, according to a spokesperson. The company sought help for next weekend, the one after, and Oct. 31.

 

Hourly-wage workers were excluded from the email, though the company said some of them responded.

 

“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 company said in a statement.

Just as Alhambra Investment Partners' Jeffrey Snider previously noted, The True Minimum Wage is $0 per hour.

The minimum wage is not what is commonly referred, as is being proven again as parts of the US experiment directly with this boundary. In New York, fast food workers have been given a $15 per hour minimum wage which is being celebrated by the same fast food workers who will bear the brunt of the experimentation. Some of them will be happy with the results, but there will be clear losers – the full wrath of redistribution is usually unseen which is why it persists.

Twitter had been having fun on the other side of the country with a similar minimum wage diktat, as the University of California system mandates also a $15 per hour rate. Professors, who overwhelmingly lean in a favorable direction, are being shown this mathematical reductionism up close. One physics professor who in one tweet reiterated his support took the next to realize the logic of it.

 

 

He currently pays $9-$10 per hour for six undergrad assistants now, but in order to conform to the new “minimum wage” command he will only be able to afford four, maybe three. In other words, the true minimum wage is $0 per hour.

To think it is any different for a fastfood restaurant is naïve. Business owners paying their workers more by arbitrary government setting will not bring in offsetting revenue (a very close microcosm of all that belies “aggregate demand”). The cost of the law will be felt by fewer hours being worked, leading to rationing of the business operations (checkouts and those cooking in the back, meaning longer wait times and worse service) and, where possible, rising prices. None of this is surprising or especially insightful.

And yet in 2015, six years into recovery, there is still a huge and heavy undercurrent of discontent that breaks out into this kind of nonsensical “solution.” There has been a resurgent trend toward Marxism already (dating back to Occupy Wall Street that survived in sentiment beyond that pitiful outbreak) that flares up here and there with the next great Marx replica (Picketty being the last, global vestige). In a real recovery, none of this counterproductive meandering would stand a chance. If the labor market were growing as it should, in sharp contrast to how it has been presented over the past year, minimum wage laws would be the furthest from the mainstream.