CHICAGO – Even though employees at the Peer Bearing Co. no longer work for the Spungen family that recently sold the Waukegan-based ball bearings maker, they still received a turkey each this Thanksgiving in keeping with tradition.
But even better was the gift that came in mid-September, when the Spungens threw a party to celebrate the company's acquisition by a Swedish company.
They gave away $6.6 million in year-end bonuses to Peer's 230 employees, decided by a formula based on each worker's years of service.
"My grandfather was always charitable," said Danny Spungen, grandson of Peer founder Nathan Spungen. He said Laurence and Florence Spungen and their four children decided on a bonus formula a year before the acquisition closed.
He said the decision was "a gamble that we would come out OK as well."
Family members signed two thank-you cards to each employee, one in Spanish and one in English, expressing gratitude for "the loyalty and hard work of our employees over the years."
"They treated us like extended family," said Maria Dima, who works at the company along with her husband, Valentin. "We won the lottery."
On the day the checks were distributed, Valentin Dima watched as co-workers broke down in tears over their bonus checks. He drove home first, then opened his envelope: $33,000. His wife received a check for a smaller amount, and the two Romanian immigrants have since taken a Caribbean cruise to celebrate.
"This company gave us stability, so we dare to spend some money on such a thing," Valentin Dima said.
While neighbors and friends faced new financial strains, the bonuses have helped Peer employees breathe easier.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Family Business Owner Gives A Bonus To Employees Even When They Didn't Have To
Ill. family thanks employees with surprise bonuses