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Payback time: Jennie-O, Spam workers get their hands on bumper bonuses

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Their hard work helps their employers to massive profits, so it's only fitting they reap some of the rewards through traditional Thanksgiving bonuses.

As the country continues its recovery from the financial downturn, companies have been more commonly associated with slashing costs in recent years, but a major Minnesota employer is now sharing more following an upturn of fortunes.

Austin-based food producer Hormel Foods – owner of the Spam and Jennie-O brands, among others – has achieved record profits of $526.2 million over the past year, and as such will hand out a record amount in its annual Thanksgiving Eve bonus handout, the Austin Daily Herald reports.

The company has announced a profit-sharing bonus of $17 million will be shared between eligible employees – the equivalent of 2.4 weeks pay – the company announced on its website.

"Times couldn't be better," plant manager Tim Fritz told the Rochester Post Bulletin. "I know it's unique in our industry to have those checks."

Turkey day delight for turkey workers

The 6,000-plus employees at the Jennie-O plant in Willmar, which includes its farm workers across Minnesota and Wisconsin, will see $10.7 million coming their way, according to the West Central Tribune.

This will see an average bonus of $1,750 handed out, with those recently hired getting around $600, the newspaper notes, with turkey production a main factor in Hormel's growth the past 12 months.

"Our team turned in another strong performance within our industry and within Hormel Foods Corporation ... despite some challenges such as high propane costs last winter," Jennie-O president Glenn R. Leitch told the West Central Tribune.

"Our team members work hard to do their best every day to control costs, find ways to continuously improve, and keep food safety and people safety at the forefront. We are proud to be able to make this discretionary bonus payment," he added.

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