February 25, 1995 in Nation/World

Boeing To Trim Local Work Force Cutback Will Cost About 50 Jobs At Boeing’s Spokane Plant

Grayden Jones Staff writer

About 50 workers at The Boeing Co. fabrication plant west of Spokane will lose their jobs this summer as part of a companywide cost-cutting plan.

Employees were given notice Thursday that about 11 percent of the 460 people employed at the Airway Heights plant will be laid off by August.

Half will lose their jobs by the end of May; half by the end of July.

The Seattle-based commercial airline maker will notify individual employees targeted for layoffs during the next two weeks, said spokeswoman Diane Ressler.

The layoffs are part of a plan Boeing announced earlier this month to cut 7,000 jobs this year, including 6,500 in Washington state. The cuts are a result of slower-than-anticipated airplane sales.

“A decline in new airplane orders means we need to be more cost effective and be more productive with less,” Ressler said.

The plant makes air conditioning ducts, floor panels and other flight-deck parts for Boeing jetliners.

The Washington cuts represent 8 percent of the 82,000 people employed in the state by the Seattlebased company.

Reductions in Spokane could have been higher, Ressler said, if the five-year-old plant had fully staffed support services departments.

“Because we’re a smaller, newer entity, we started with flat organization structure” that did not have as much room for cuts, she said.

Ressler said the layoffs will be split about evenly between union-represented manufacturing jobs and salaried support people.

Ressler did not know how much money would be saved by the layoffs, but she said officials at Boeing headquarters are satisfied that the cuts are sufficient.

The Machinist’s Union District 751 was less satisfied, however.

“I don’t think we’re getting any good deal,” said Craig McClure, business representative for Local 751, which represents 324 of the Boeing workers in Spokane. “The only good deal is to not have any layoffs.”

Under the union contract, McClure said, employees with the least seniority will be the first to lose their jobs.

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