July 14, 2009 in Region

Boeing defense cuts mean 1,000 layoffs

Seattle Times
 

The job ax at Boeing is set to fall on the defense division, which until now has largely been spared companywide employment reductions.

The head of Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems, Jim Albaugh, told employees in an internal message Monday that IDS will have to cut about 1,000 jobs because of Pentagon budget cuts.

Boeing spokesman Dan Beck said today that no further details are available. It has not been decided how many of those cuts will affect the Puget Sound region, which has 7,000 IDS employees. And Boeing has not laid out the schedule for the cuts.

“When decisions are made they will be shared with our employees,” Beck said in an e-mail.

Albaugh’s message cited two main drivers of the employment reduction: A funding cut in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program; and the Defense Department’s stop-work order on the ground vehicle portion of the Army’s Future Combat Systems program. Albaugh said the job reductions were needed “to keep ourselves competitive.”

In January, Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney said the company would cut 10,000 jobs companywide this year through attrition and layoffs. Of that total, 4,500 are to come from the Commercial Airplanes unit, most of which is based here.

Beck, citing the regulatory “quiet period” before the company’s earnings report next week, declined to clarify whether the 1,000 cuts are part of the 10,000 targeted or are additional cuts.

In the first half of the year, Boeing has shed more than 3,500 jobs companywide.

The Commercial Airplane unit has already cut 2,300 of those jobs and has said it will contribute a further 1,000 cuts to the total by not filling vacancies. In the same period, the IDS division has added almost 400 positions, including 200 last month. Beck said IDS has been hiring “to meet specific needs on various programs.”


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