Boeing to give layoff notices to hundreds of Aerospace Engineers at Commercial Airplanes Unit

April 19, 2017: Boeing officials plan to give layoff notices to hundreds of Aerospace Engineers at the company’s Commercial Airplanes Unit in Washington State and at other unspecified locations on Friday, April 21, 2017. Boeing officials declined to provide exact numbers, but they said workers at the 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina will not be cut. "We anticipate this will impact hundreds of engineering employees," Boeing Vice President of Engineering John Hamilton said in an e-mail message to employees on Monday, April 17, 2017. Layoffs are planned for June 23, 2017, Hamilton said. Boeing said several rounds of voluntary buyouts and earlier layoffs have not lowered costs enough amid an aerospace slowdown. "We need to reduce our employment level further in order to meet our operating plan and additional challenges in the marketplace," Hamilton said. "That means we are moving forward with a second phase of involuntary layoffs for some select skills in Washington state and other enterprise locations."

Before this latest round, Boeing had reduced its headcount in Washington State by more than 2,000 workers since January, 2017. That includes 1,805 voluntary buyout packages since January, 2017, and 245 involuntary layoffs announced in March, 2017. Hamilton said that "additional reductions" in the jetmaker's Engineering ranks will depend on the business environment and the number of voluntary departures. Boeing's South Carolina workers rejected a union earlier in 2017. Some took voluntary buyout packages, Boeing Spokesman Doug Alder said.

Bainbridge Island aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton said Boeing has a surplus of engineers in the Puget Sound region, where Boeing develops its new jets. "You have three new airplane programs winding down: the 737 Max, the 787-10 Dreamliner and even the 777X next year as it goes into production," he said. "You have one potential new airplane program coming up: the middle-of-the-market(MOM) airplane." Engineering and machinist unions say Boeing has cut 12,655 jobs in in Washington State since state Legislators gave the company $8.7 billion in aerospace tax incentive credits in 2013.

Attribution: The Puget Sound Business Journal

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