People of Northwest Public Radio
Fri March 22, 2013
Boeing Machinists Optimistic Despite Layoffs
Boeing announced today Friday it will lay off 800 machinists in the Puget Sound area this year. The company says workforce needs on two of its newest jet programs have been reduced.
Boeing says it will use a combination of layoffs, redeployment and attrition to cut up to 2,300 positions in the Puget Sound region this year. The 800 employees affected by layoffs are scheduled to receive their notices in April.
Boeing says development of its 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 jumbo jets have stabilized, so fewer employees are needed to do refurbishing. Union officials say it could be much worse.
Connie Kelliher is the spokesperson for Machinists District 7-5-1.
“You know, it’s terrible news anytime anyone loses their job, but this is not the start of a traditional Boeing downcycle," Kelliher says. "Unlike past layoffs, there are no production rate decreases on any airplane line. And the production rates remain high, and there’s a seven-year backlog.”
As of February, Boeing had just over 86,000 employees in the region.
A Boeing spokesperson says the layoffs are not related to the federal government’s grounding of the Dreamliner over concerns with its battery. He says while no airplanes are being delivered, production is continuing on schedule.
Copyright 2013 KUOW