March 23, 2013 in Business

Boeing to trim 800 machinists by end of year

Dominic Gates Seattle Times
 

Boeing Co. said Friday it will lay off some 800 machinists by the end of this year as workforce needs on its newest jet programs, the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 jumbo jet, are reduced.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said other reductions will be made through attrition so that the total number of positions cut this year will be between 2,000 and 2,300.

“We always expected employment requirements would come down on these programs after we stabilized production,” Alder said. “That’s what’s happening.”

Alder said the cuts are not related to the current grounding of the 787 due to problems with its battery system.

The cuts will come chiefly among employees who work on refurbishing and doing modifications on jets that have rolled off the assembly line in need of rework, he said.

Boeing has several thousand employees working at what’s called the Everett Modification Center, a former supplier building at the south end of Paine Field in Everett.

The cuts come even though the 787 modifications are expected to continue through 2014 and possibly into 2015.

In addition, the 787 production rate is set to increase from five jets per month to 10 per month by year end.

Alder said that planned increase in rate will go ahead, but “we feel like we have the appropriate amount of workforce in place so production continues as normal and 787 continues to its goal of 10 per month by year end.”

Boeing employment in Washington state peaked in November of last year at just shy of 86,800.

At the end of February that number was already reduced by about 600 people, to 86,200.

Alder said Boeing’s 787 assembly complex in North Charleston, S.C., will also reduce its workforce by “hundreds” this year, though in that case the people let go will be long-term contract employees.


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