Help me out here. I’m baffled.
Is corporate America really unable — or unwilling — to even try to do better for the country?
On Dec. 14, Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ: LECO ) , the Cleveland-based manufacturer of welding technologies and No. 1 in the world since the 1930s, announced the 2012 bonus for its roughly 3,000 American employees.
Read the following five lines slowly.
The bonus has been paid for 79 uninterrupted years in a row.
This year, Lincoln Electric shared $99.3 million of pre-tax profits with employees.
The average 2012 bonus was $33,915 per worker.
The average employee earned $82,300 (including the bonus).
No one was laid off in 2012.
Do you find that impressive? How about this?
In 2011, the picture was essentially the same. Ditto for 2010, 2009, 2008… 1997… 1979… 1956… 1948…
The actual numbers were different, obviously. When the economy did well, the bonus and total earnings tended to rise; in tough times, they shrank. But two things haven’t changed since the 1940s.
First, Lincoln Electric has remained the world leader in its field: profitable, innovative, and steadily expanding across the globe (now 46 factories in 20 countries).
Second, due to the firm’s corporate policy of guaranteed employment, no American worker has been laid off since at least 1948.
Surely, if you’re running a company in America and you have a functioning brain, you’re now asking yourself (at least) two questions: How do they do that? and Can I learn something from Lincoln Electric?