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The countdown: Top stories of 2012, No. 15-6

Published 11:43am Monday, December 31, 2012

11. Hormel divvies a record $17 million in bonuses

Jeff Denisen takes a look at his check during the 74th annual Hormel Foods profit sharing check distribution at the Hormel Plant this November. Hormel had a record year with $17 million in bonuses distributed. -- Herald file photo

Every year for the past 74 years, Hormel Foods Corp. plant workers could count on an annual profit sharing bonus check, and this year was no exception. On the day before Thanksgiving, Hormel divvied a record $16.9 million to plant employees who had been there for a year or more.

“It’s awesome,” said plant worker Missie Lindberg at the time. “We work hard all year, and it’s a nice cherry on top.”

The meatpacker employs 1,750 workers at the Austin plant, and many use the bonus to help with holiday shopping and other expenses that come at the end of the year.

While Hormel doesn’t guarantee a bonus, plant manager Tim Fritz said it’s a way of telling workers their contribution matters.

“That’s what it’s all about: hard work,” Fritz said on Nov. 21. “It helps employees make the connection between what they do and financial results.”

And the financial results were impressive in 2012, as Hormel Foods reported an annual profit of $500.1 million and $8.23 billion in total sales, both company records. The profit, which has gone up four-straight years, was a 5.5 percent increase from 2011.

“Our record year in net sales and earnings is a testament to our hard-working and dedicated employees,” Hormel CEO and President Jeff Ettinger said in a news release.

—By Adam Harringa


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