By DAN STRUMPFAP Auto Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors Corp. said Thursday it will suspend several benefit programs for salaried workers as it seeks to cut costs in the difficult auto market.The automaker will temporarily stop company matching of its 401(k) program as of Nov. 1, GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said. It also will suspend tuition reimbursement and adoption assistance programs as of the end of this year, he said.Wilkinson added the company’s early retirement program for salaried employees, which will complete Nov. 1, has been “well-received,” but he declined to say how many white-collar workers have accepted the offer. The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Thursday that more work force reductions would be necessary, and the automaker would begin making involuntary job cuts of its salaried work force.Wilkinson declined to comment on the report but said executives received a letter Wednesday with updates on the progress of the buyout program.
“All we’re saying is that we’re going to continue to assess our overall staffing needs,” Wilkinson said.GM has been aggressively working to slash its costs this year as it grapples with the crippled state of the U.S. vehicle market. In August, the automaker began offering buyouts to some salaried workers as part of a plan to cut 15 percent of the costs associated with its white-collar work force.GM had 44,000 U.S. salaried workers in 2000. That dropped to 32,000 by the end of last year.Earlier in the year, GM laid out a vast, $15 billion restructuring plan involving cost cuts and cash raises. As part of the plan, the automaker said it would cut thousands of salaried and hourly jobs, sell assets, suspend its dividend and eliminate health care for salaried retirees over age 65.
GM has reported losing $57.5 billion in the last 20 months, including a $15.5 billion loss in the second quarter. Its vehicle sales declined 18 percent in the first nine months of this year.GM has not yet set a date to release its third-quarter results, but Wilkinson said it will be sometime around Nov. 1.
Michael sez: This is the first suspension of GM's stock dividend since 1922. Did you notice the sentence fragment that said ...eliminate healthcare for salaried retiree's over 65. Ain't anybody that needs it more than they do. Dirty bastards.