The San Antonio Shoe plant in Pittsfield, Maine, called employees together
on Friday and gave them some unexpected news: Every employee would be receiving
a holiday bonus of $1,000 for each year they have been employed with the company, the Associated Press reports.
Employees tell the AP that the announcement shocked them. Some of the workers broke into tears when told of the bonuses.
"They called us all together and said we would each get $1,000,"
Lawrence Wyman tells the AP. "Everyone started clapping and then they said
it would be $1,000 for each year worked. There's no retirement fund in the shoe
business, so this is going to come in real handy."
Some workers received as much as $19,000. The bonuses of employees who have
worked for the company less than a year were prorated.
The AP reports that the company attached to the bonus checks a letter saying
that the gifts were rewards for working through turbulent times.
Most companies (65 percent) will not be giving holiday bonuses this year, according
to a survey by Hewitt Associates. Of the 35 percent of companies that will offer
a holiday bonus program, 28 percent plan to provide cash bonuses, 28 percent
will give retailer gift certificates and 23 percent will reward employees with
a gift of food (e.g., turkey or ham), the survey found.