News and Media

Bertch employees get free Mexican vacation for Christmas

Posted: 12/31/2004 in Company News

There wasn't a fruitcake, ham or turkey waiting for employees of Bertch Manufacturing this holiday season.

Instead the company is flying 1,300 people to Cancun, Mexico, where they will stay at an oceanside resort that has Jacuzzis in every room, a beach and golf course.

Bertch is paying the entire bill for employees and their spouses. Eight chartered jets will leave Waterloo on Monday and return Jan. 7. "Everything is taken care of. All I have to do is tell them I'd like to go," said Jeff Eastland, a machine operator in the Bertch factory in Waterloo. So far 800 workers have signed up. The company employs more than 1,400 people, most of them in Waterloo. The company also has operations in Jesup and Oelwein.

The company's owners, Gary and Becky Bertch, came up with the trip idea in the late 1980s. The company pays for a trip every two or three years if business goals are met. "We always have had more of an 'everybody wins or everybody loses' mentality. So we thought if we're going to do it, we're going to do it for everybody," Gary Bertch said. Production shuts down for the week of the trip. Employees have gone to Acapulco, Hawaii and on Caribbean cruises. "We're trying to find a warm place in the Iowa winter," Bertch said.