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Boeing Commercial Airplanes To Eliminate About 4,000 Positions By Mid-Year

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Reed Saxon
/
AP Photo

Boeing says its commercial airplanes division, which is concentrated in the Puget Sound region, will shrink by about 4,000 positions in the next few months as part of an effort to cut “billions of dollars” in costs this year.

Spokesman Doug Alder said the majority of those positions are open jobs that won’t be filled. The rest of the cuts will be achieved through attrition and voluntary layoffs. The company also said the cuts include hundreds of executives and managers.

“We’ll only use involuntary layoffs as a last resort,” the company said in an emailed statement. Boeing aims “to make fundamental changes for the long term to win in the market, fund our growth and operate as a healthy business.”

A separate unit, Boeing Test and Evaluation, which conducts flight tests and lab tests for different parts of the company, plans to cut about 10 percent of its workforce, a spokeswoman said. That unit, which is headquartered in Seattle, has workers in 20 states. Its headcount totaled 5,700 as of January.

Last month, top Boeing executives warned that job cuts were in the works. The company has said it will deliver fewer planes this year than last year, and it’s reducing production rates for its wide-body 747 and 777 jets, which are both built in Everett.

 

The Seattle Times reported that the company may cut as much as 10 percent of its workforce in Washington state, citing unidentified people “with knowledge of what’s planned.” That would be equal to almost 8,000 jobs.

Boeing said it’s trying to achieve cost cuts in many ways, including supply chain savings. Alder said business travel is being significantly reduced.

News of the workforce reductions was troubling to Democratic state Representative June Robinson, who represents Everett. She has been trying unsuccessfully to pass legislation that would impose more conditions on the $8.7 billion tax-incentive package the legislature passed in 2013 in order to win Boeing’s 777x program.

“Of course, the intention of them receiving that significant tax incentive was to at least maintain and more likely grow jobs here in the state, and that has not happened here at all,” Robinson said.

In October 2013, Boeing’s workforce in Washington totaled more than 83,000 people. Now, the company employs fewer than 78,000 in the state. Over that same period, Boeing has added jobs in South Carolina, where the company builds some 787 Dreamliners.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.