Hormel divvies $16.5M in bonuses

Hormel employee Jaime Hernandez receives his profit sharing check Wednesday morning at the Hormel Foods plant. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

It’s unclear who looks forward to Hormel Foods annual profit sharing day more, employee Isaiah Moser or his wife and two kids.

For Moser’s family, the 73rd annual Thanksgiving eve profit sharing day means Christmas shopping on Black Friday and the next few days.

“Since it’s right before Christmas, we use it for Christmas presents for the kids, and the wife looks forward to it,” Moser said. “Tomorrow is shopping day.”

Hormel employees mingle in the plant Wednesday when they receive their profit sharing checks.

Hormel doled out today a record $16.5 million in profit sharing to its plant employees, including those employed at the Austin plant. Checks dished out were based on about two to two and a half regular week’s pay, according to Hormel’s Austin plant manager Tim Fritz.

“It’s a fun day at the Austin plant,” Fritz said. “It’s a culmination of a hard year’s work and it shows hard work pays off. It couldn’t come at a better time of year.”

Moser, who has worked at Hormel for five years, said the annual event means a lot to him and other employees.

“It shows how good our company is doing, and in a down economy, a lot of companies aren’t doing as well and it shows that Hormel Foods is holding strong through innovation and well-produced products,” he said.

Moser said employees like to keep track of how Hormel is doing and it motivates him and others to do more.

Hormel released its fourth quarter and annual earnings report Tuesday, and while it reported a 3 percent drop for the fourth quarter, annual net earnings climbed to a record $474.2 million, a 20 percent jump from 2010.

“It’s a lot of excitement to see how well we’ve done each year,” Moser said. “Every year it’s nice to see how much in sales we’ve had and how much our profits have increased.”

Betty John, who has worked at Hormel for nine years, said the event brings holiday cheer and it helps her family a lot.

“It’s about the holiday season, and I’m really really happy to work for Hormel,” she said. “I’ll keep on working here until I retire.”

The checks were given to plant workers who had been employed for the entire fiscal year. Hormel employs about 1,775 plant workers in Austin.

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