Boeing sends notice that layoffs are coming in May
SEATTLE — Boeing sent a notice to employees at its commercial jet factories Friday warning of layoffs in May.
Workers at the company’s Washington state factories were informed by their union that Boeing had issued a federally required notice that “involuntary layoffs were scheduled for May.”
A Boeing spokesman confirmed the 60-day notice, but declined to say precisely when it would initiate the layoffs or how many positions would be cut.
Boeing has been cutting staff to reduce costs since early 2016, primarily through buyouts and the attrition of executives, managers and engineering staff. The notices are the first official signal from the company that it will lay off some of the factory workers who assemble its jets.
The Machinists union in Seattle, which represents thousands of Boeing employees, confirmed that it had received WARN notices from Boeing on Friday that there would be involuntary layoffs scheduled for May.
“As soon as we are notified of specific seniority dates in the specific job classifications, we will post that information on our website,” the union wrote in a message to its members.
After years of record buying, the pace of orders for Boeing’s twin-aisle jets, including its 777 and 787 Dreamliners, has slowed significantly. Boeing is cutting back current-generation 777 production, its most profitable large jet, by nearly 60% from its peak.
Boeing is adjusting its employment to account for that lost revenue and is under pressure to offer better prices to airlines while promising Wall Street improved profit margins.
As of last month, Boeing had 148,000 workers. About half its employees work in its commercial aircraft unit, where the buyout offers were made. The company had already cut the jetliner unit’s head count by 9% in the past year.