BIZ FRONT Hormel delivers bonus checks

By Karen Colbenson

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

More than $14.8 million in profit-sharing checks was distributed to employees of Hormel Foods Corp. today, and Eldon Winkel knows exactly where his cut is going.

For the 26 years Winkel has worked at the plant, he has taken his annual bonus and rolled it back into his retirement fund.

"I never cash it, I put it into my 401K," said Winkel, of Lyle. "It has built up a lot for retirement. Without it, I wouldn’t hardly have anything put away."


Plant manager Mark Coffey spent the morning celebrating the company’s 70th annual profit sharing distribution with 1,750 employees, who were treated to milk and cookies before receiving their checks. Every eligible employee was paid a bonus equal to about two weeks of pay.

"This is a fun and festive day for the Hormel team," Coffey told employees. "We’re very proud of all of you."

According to Coffey, Hormel remained "recession resilient" through the tough economy. While many other companies are laying off employees, Hormel is adding production lines, he said.

"There’s a lot of gloom and doom in the economy, and for our employees to overcome those obstacles … we’re very proud of that," said Coffey. "We’re stable, we’re profitable, we’re growing. Many of you have been working six to seven days a week. For that, I have to say thank you very much. You work very hard, and your work is not easy."

Machine operator Melissa

, who has worked at the plant for more than 10 years, said she feels grateful to be employed in a secure company.

"It’s nice we don’t have to worry about our jobs," she said.

The extra bonus comes at the "perfect time of the year," she added.


"It’s nice extra money for Christmas," said Lindberg. "I’ll use it for Christmas shopping."

Bill Hacker, production supervisor, said it’s a good time of the year to be a supervisor.

"They always appreciate you more when you’re handing them money," said Hacker, laughing. "It’s nice to see a smile on their faces. This is always a happy day around here."

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