Sprint Nextel announced a plan today to reduce internal and external labor costs by $1.2 billion by eliminating 8,000 positions within the company. The layoffs are expected to be completed by March 31st and will effect all levels of the company. Of the 8,000 positions eliminated, 850 are part of the voluntary separation plan announced late last year. In addition to the layoffs, Sprint is also suspending the 401(k) matching program for 2009, extending the 2008 salary freeze through 2009 and suspending its tuition reimbursement program for the duration of 2009. Bad news for Sprint Nextel, even worse news for its employees. Our sympathies go out to those who will be affected by this difficult news.