Late on Tuesday Boeing confirmed rumors that it is definitely in the process of nixing 4,000 jobs with a deadline of June. Currently, the company employs approximately 78,000 Washington State residents.
In an official statement, the company said: “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.”
Furthermore, the statement adds, “[this] 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.”
The staffing reductions will include not only entry-level and labor positions but also executives and managers; none of these pertain to involuntary layoffs. Fortunately, the company says they have also been able to reduce staffing levels through corporate attrition and leaving some open positions unfilled. While voluntary layoffs have been helpful, the company says they will only use involuntary layoffs as a last resort.
While layoffs are common in any tough economy, Boeing finds itself in a strange predicament because Washington State just gave them—the state’s largest employer—an $8.7 billion tax break to encourage job creation for the building of the 777X.
Assembly Electrician Vince Popich laments, “It’s garbage. We’re bending over backwards paying for it, and here they are laying off American workers, outsourcing our jobs.”
Boeing’s CEO recently expressed to workers, via company-wide address, that these cuts would be more part of an all-inclusive plan to cut overall cost while keeping up with its major competitor, Airbus.
Renton worker Mark Childress shares his understanding: “We are pedaling as hard as we can to stay in front of Airbus,” he notes, adding also that he thinks the company will ultimately need to fill the jobs again once they have finished adjusting their business model. “As the 777X and the new 737 Max gets into full production, within two years, the jobs will all come back,” he proposes.