Originally created 12/15/01

Business briefs



BellSouth Job Cuts

ATLANTA - BellSouth said Friday that it plans to eliminate 1,200 technical and clerical jobs throughout the company's nine-state service area.

Employees were officially notified at about 7:30 a.m., after a story about the plan appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

BellSouth spokesman Jeff Battcher said these cuts are separate from a plan announced in October to trim the payroll by 3,000 white-collar jobs.

"The 1,200 positions are in network operations, field operations - the men and women who you see driving trucks, repairing lines ...," he said.

PAPER CUTS

NEW YORK - Gannett Co., the largest newspaper publisher in the country, has canceled 2001 raises for about 80 of its top executives, following the lead of other major publishers.

"This is a better way to cut costs than other methods out there," said Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell on Friday. "It sends a good message to stakeholders of all sorts - employees, shareholders, analysts."

Other newspaper companies making similar moves include:

--Tribune Co. announced 5 percent pay cuts for senior managers and cash bonuses for 2001 would be "minimal."

--Knight Ridder said no 2001 bonus for corporate executives and salary freeze in 2002 for individuals earnings more than $200,000 a year.

Gannett, which owns 97 U.S. newspapers including USA Today, has also has trimmed its U.S. work force in an effort to cut costs, eliminating 3.5 percent of its full-time and 13 percent of its part-time positions, Connell said. Gannett has 43,000 U.S. employees.

LIGHTING UP

DETROIT - General Motors Corp. has notified its salaried employees that it is reducing company contributions to employee 401(k) retirement plans for the second time this year.

Beginning Jan. 1, GM will cut its matching contribution to 20 cents on the dollar from 60 cents, company spokesman Tom Wickham said Friday.

LIGHTING UP

Draping the house with strands of lights and other electricity-guzzling decorations is a must for many Americans during the holidays. To keep bills, fire risks and energy consumption as low as possible, leave the lights on for no more than six evening hours a day, warns the Alliance to Save Energy.

Always unplug holiday lights before you leave home and before you go to bed, said the alliance, a Washington-based nonprofit coalition that promotes the efficient use of energy.

Make sure there's a bulb in each socket and check your fuse or circuit breaker panel to determine how much output your home can handle without overloads.

For outdoor lights, wrap plugs and connector joints in plastic and electric tape and use ground fault circuit interrupters, which automatically cut off a current if there's a leak.

NEW IN 2002

Better tasting soy foods, dental kits to go and designer makeup are among the products that could surface on store shelves in the new year, says Mintel, a British consumer market research company.

Other possibilities include convenience foods such as a baby milk prepackaged in disposable bottles, tea and coffee that heat themselves, instant coffee premixed with flavored creamers and fragrances with applicator brushes.