Last September, packaging, material handling and industrial supplies distributor Uline made headlines by offering a $6,000 sign-on bonus when it was looking to fill 60 warehouse positions at one of its locations in southeast Wisconsin.
The company then upped that bonus offer this past February to more than $7,000 to fill 250 warehouse jobs in the same region, citing continued growth despite impacts from COVID-19.
Well, Uline has just outdone itself again. The company’s Careers website lists numerous upcoming hiring events during August at locations in Allentown, PA; Kenosha, WI; Hudson, WI; and Milton, Ontario, Canada; with each stating that new hires are eligible to receive a company-wide $8,000 year-end bonus.
A listing for weekly warehouse walk-in interviews in Allentown says the wages range from $23 to $35 per hour, while listings for events in Kenosha and Hudson show a range of $23 to $30. All listings detail job duties, benefits and employee perks.
Pleasant Prairie, WI-based Uline states that it employs over 7,000 warehouse workers across its 12 distribution facilities in the US.
The hiring push comes as many major distributors have struggled to fill warehouse positions throughout 2021 amid a tight labor market. The US unemployment rate dropped from 5.9 percent in June to 5.4 percent in July as the US added 943,000 jobs in July, including 10,700 in warehousing, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In a blog earlier this month, Industrial Distribution recapped recent commentary from Grainger and Fastenal where those major distributors' CEOs detailed warehouse labor challenges they’ve faced in recent months.
“In response, we have increased our wages to attract and retain talent, especially in our distribution centers,” Grainger chairman and CEO D.G. Macpherson said in his company’s Q2 earnings call on July 30. “We've implemented robust training programs to onboard new team members and train existing team members to work throughout our buildings. We have made great progress in closing staff and gaps and will continue to do so over the third quarter.”
In a related note, as of Monday, Amazon is requiring all of its 900,000 US warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The move follows similar steps at major retailers that include Walmart and Target.