Pleasant Prairie-based Uline plans to hire 125 employees in Kenosha and expects an influx of applicants with the state’s enhanced unemployment benefits slated to expire next month. Currently, enhanced unemployment benefits provide individuals with an additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits. Critics of the enhanced unemployment benefits say they are contributing to the tight labor market. The enhanced benefits are set to expire Sept. 6. Uline, a distributor of shipping, industrial and packaging materials, is hosting a hiring event today at its warehouse in Kenosha at 12355 Uline Way with the goal of filling warehouse and customer service positions. The distributor is hoping to attract new employees with an $8,000 bonus for those hired by Aug. 31, a $2,000 increase from the bonus it offered employees around the same time last year. Starting wages range from $23 to $30 per hour, according to the company. In a tight labor market where companies are vying for a small pool of candidates, Uline has had to modify its hiring strategy. Part of that effort has been promoting stability, a path to promotion and adjusting how hiring managers discuss what it’s like to work at Uline with prospective employees, said Scott Gianoni, Uline distribution manager. For example, the company understands that it pulls candidates from other sectors like retail or the food industry where hours and schedules have been inconsistent during the coronavirus pandemic. Other industries have also had irregular shifts with the ebb and flow of demand over the last 12 months, Gianoni said. “So many people were furloughed or had uncertainty in their jobs during COVID but the reality here is much different,” Gianoni said. “I think that’s a big piece of it. Engaging with candidates in a different way.” The hiring wave reflects growth at Uline, which has seen increased demand for products like restaurant to-go containers, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment during the pandemic, said Brad Harper, Uline branch manager. “Uline’s ability to deliver quality products and unparalleled customer service, even during the challenging times over the past 18 months, has prompted much of our growth,” Harper said in a statement. According to the company’s website, Uline is looking to fill more than 370 warehouse, corporate, sales and technology positions across its footprint, which includes 12 locations in North America. Uline has hired more than 100 employees at its 12355 Uline Way facility in Kenosha and more than 300 across its facilities in southeastern Wisconsin this year, Harper said. Approximately 3,000 of the company’s 7,000 employees are located in Wisconsin. Uline has 20 buildings between Milwaukee and North Chicago with a total square footage of more than 7 million, according to the company. Uline is currently constructing a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center and another 644,000 distribution facility in Kenosha - both are expected to be operational by the end of 2021, a Uline spokesperson said.
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