Business & Finance

Machinists at bankrupt US Airways' last holdout union voted to approve pay and benefit cuts that will save the airline almost $270 million but will cost thousands of union members their jobs. Friday's vote by the machinists union gives the airline a reduction of more than $1 billion in its annual labor costs, the level management said was necessary to be viable. If the unions had voted against the contracts, they would have been canceled altogether by court order and the airline would have been free to impose harsher terms.

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced Friday it was withholding millions of dollars in 2004 bonuses from its 43 top executives as it continued to come to grips with revelations of serious financial reporting problems. Regulators ordered the company in September to boost its capital cushion, the amount of reserves it has to guard against financial losses, by some $5 billion by mid 2005.

The European Union announced Friday that it was prepared to end penalty sanctions on $4 billion worth of American exports to Europe. However, EU officials warned they could reimpose some of the tariffs if a dispute is not resolved over a US law that showers $136 billion in new tax breaks on US exporters. A wide range of U.S. exports - from jewelry and textiles to steel and various farm goods - had been hit by the sanctions.

About 5,600 German employees of General Motors Corp. have agreed to accept buyouts offered as part of the company's efforts to slash jobs in Europe, a labor official said Friday. GM also plans to cut 15 percent of management in Europe as it pursues $665 million in annual cost savings.

Delta Air Lines reported a $2.2 billion fourth-quarter loss late last week, easily the industry's worst-ever annual financial performance. The carrier blamed high fuel prices, low fares, and hefty charges for the poor results, which missed even Wall Street's reduced expectations and pushed Delta's total losses to $8.5 billion.

Casual wear maker Tommy Hilfiger Corp. said Friday that it is closing its young men's jeans division and cutting roughly 20 percent of its salaried US workforce, or 200 jobs, CBS MarketWatch reported. The company is based in Hong Kong.

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