Business digest 01/11/05

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

GM to cut U.S. work force again in 2005

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. plans to reduce its U.S. work force by about 7 percent for a fourth consecutive year in 2005, chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said. That means about 8,000 hourly and salaried positions at the world's largest automaker will be eliminated through attrition and retirement over the next 12 months.

State Farm to pay $40 million in settlement

ALBANY, N.Y. -- State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. agreed to pay $40 million to thousands of car owners around the country Monday to settle allegations that it allowed automobiles that were totaled in crashes to be resold without noting the accident on the title. About 30,000 consumers may be eligible for payments ranging from $400 to $10,000, depending on the value of their vehicle, said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. In most states, insurance firms taking ownership of vehicles that are severely damaged must declare on the title whether the car is "salvage," because an accident can affect the automobile's value.

Grocery tops Fortune's list of best employers

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets, a grocery chain whose motto is "employees first, customers second," topped Fortune's eighth annual list of the best 100 companies to work for in America, the magazine said Monday. The 89-year-old, family-owned business credited with helping pioneer "one-stop shopping," scored high marks on employee surveys of job satisfaction and communication with management. "It's hard for me to walk through a store without customers stopping me and saying, 'Mr. Wegman, you've got a great store, but, wow, are your people something else,'" said 86-year-old company chairman Robert Wegman.

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