SC Johnson started its profit-sharing program in 1917. Fortune magazine reported in 2006 that profit-sharing added 19 percent to employees' salaries at all levels of the company. (One story that may be more local legend than fact is that car dealerships stayed open late on SCJ's profit-sharing days because employees would show up and pay cash for new cars.) It's unclear if SCJ has ever canceled profit sharing. The company did famously start its pension program in the teeth of the Great Depression.
The news was not necessarily a surprise for SCJ employees. Company executives had previously warned employees that the economy threatened profit-sharing this year.
Here's a statement from SC Johnson Spokesperson Jennifer Taylor about the company's financial health:
As a privately held company, we don't typically discuss financial matters. We are fortunate however that during this difficult and unpredictable economic time, unlike many companies, SC Johnson remains financially healthy. We continue to invest in the business to remain strong for the long term. In the end, that is what is best for the people of SC Johnson and for our community.
In fact, SC Johnson’s profitability and our balance sheet are such that we still have an A- long term debt rating, which is considered very strong. This debt rating information is publicly available so I figured I would provide it to you. Bottom line, SC Johnson remains profitable, and this is a year where we’re investing in our business.