Confidence and benefits back at Ford

Dec. 15, 2009 at 2:46 PM
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DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. said it was confident enough in its prospects to restore merit raises and benefits to salaried workers taken away a year ago.

Ford Americas President Mark Fields said simply in a memorandum to salaried staff that, "our plan is working," The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

Ford said it would return to making contributions to retirement funds on Jan. 1, putting in 60 cents for every dollar tucked away by an employee with a cap in the benefit of 5 percent of the worker's salary.

Ford, like many other companies, retracted 401(k) contributions when the economy soured a year ago. "The benefits were suspended due to difficult business conditions," Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said.

Ford is expected to lose money on the year, but managed to post a $1 billion profit in the third quarter after making money in the second.

Ford said tuition assistance would be available for salaried workers starting March 1. Merit raises -- withdrawn with Ford's $14.6 billion loss in 2008 -- will return April 1.

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