Boeing gets 1,880 union workers to take voluntary layoffs

Company will cut more in 2017: Union
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 03/06/2017
Boeing's logo above the front doors of its largest jetliner factory in Everett, Washington, on Jan. 13. REUTERS/Alwyn Scott
Boeing's logo above the front doors of its largest jetliner factory in Everett, Washington, on Jan. 13. REUTERS/Alwyn Scott

SEATTLE (Reuters) —  Boeing has accepted 1,880 voluntary layoffs from its union machinists and engineers in the Seattle area, the unions said on Thursday, part of the jet maker's drive to cut costs through job reductions and other measures.

Boeing's machinists union, that builds airplanes near Seattle, said about 1,575 workers had taken voluntary layoffs by the deadline in February.

Boeing's white-collar union said Boeing accepted 305 members for voluntary layoffs in January. Last year, Boeing cut about 1,200 white-collar union jobs: 850 through voluntary layoffs and 350 through involuntary reductions, said Bill Dugovich, spokesman for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

"Boeing has told us to expect about the same number of total layoffs in 2017 as 2016," he said.

The job reductions had been announced last year and workers had until Feb. 1 to apply.

"These are all voluntary, where people planned to retire or had other plans," said Connie Kelliher, a spokeswoman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751.

Boeing said it did not have a specific target number for its job reductions at the commercial airplane unit but was sticking with the broad plan of reducing jobs it outlined in December.

"We are reducing costs and aligning employment levels to business and market requirements," spokesman Paul Bergman said. "Employment reductions will come through a combination of attrition, leaving open positions unfilled, voluntary layoff program and in some cases, involuntary layoffs."

Boeing offered the buyouts to workers last year as part of an eight per cent workforce reduction at its commercial airplane business. The unit had about 74,600 workers at the end of February. Boeing said in December it would cut an as-yet-undetermined number of jobs in 2017.

No machinists have had involuntary layoffs for several years, Kelliher said.

Boeing's shares closed down 0.5 per cent at $182.99 on the New York Stock Exchange. 

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