General Electric announced it will freeze the pensions of 20,000 U.S. salaried workers, a measure designed to reduce its pension deficit and trim debt. The move will shave GE's pension deficit by as much as $8 billion and its net debt by as much as $6 billion.
As part of the pension freeze, the industrial conglomerate said it will freeze supplementary pension benefits for approximately 700 employees who became executives before 2011. Supplemental pension plans are typically designed for higher-ranking employees and offer benefits beyond the typical pension plan.
As part of such efforts, the company said last month it would spend $5 billion to pay down debt. But the effort to reduce debt could also damage employee morale at a time when CEO H. Lawrence Culp Jr. is trying to turn around the troubled conglomerate.