Boeing to cut 4,000 jobs, more cuts could be coming

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

SEATTLE - Late Tuesday Boeing confirmed it was in the process of shedding 4,000 jobs by June.  The company employs about 78,000 in Washington state.

“It’s Garbage,” exclaimed assembly electrician Vince Popich outside the Renton 737 plant.

Popich is especially upset because the state of Washington gave his employer $8.7 Billion in tax breaks to ensure new 777X jobs will be created here.

“We're bending over backwards paying for it, and here they are laying off American workers, outsourcing our jobs,” Popich said.

Other Boeing workers like Dean Chinn were less worried.

“I'm not concerned,” Chinn casually said.  “I have 30 something years with the company.”

According to a memo, obtained by the Seattle Times there could ultimately be up to 8,000 cuts by the end of the year.

Boeing released a statement Tuesday night:

We continue to follow our plan announced last month to make fundamental changes for the long term to win in the market, fund our growth and operate as a healthy business.

That involves a combination of non-labor cost savings, supply chain savings, and reduced staffing levels. While there is no employment reduction target, the more we can control costs as a whole-- the less impact there will be to employment.

Staffing reductions through mid-year, including hundreds of executives and managers, are projected to total approximately 4,000 positions -- none of which involve involuntary layoffs. We’ve been able to reduce staffing levels through attrition, leaving open positions unfilled, and voluntary layoffs. We’ll only use involuntary layoffs as a last resort.

Boeing's CEO recently told workers in a company-wide address any cuts would part of an overall plan to cut cost and keep up with competitor Airbus.  Renton worker Mark Childress says he understand that argument.

“We are pedaling as hard as we can to stay in front of Airbus,” Childress said, adding that he thinks the jobs will be ultimately needed again once Boeing is done adjusting its business model.  “As the 777X and the new 737 Max gets into full production, within two years, the jobs will all come back.”

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