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Boeing says no involuntary layoffs as they cut 4,000 positions; some workers still concerned

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RENTON, Wash. --  Boeing jobs are on the chopping block, and the news has workers nervous.

Some Boeing workers with the least amount of years in the company fear they are in the most danger of losing their jobs.

“I’ve been in this industry for 30 years and that is what Boeing has always done,” employee Ben Johnson said.

Job security was shaken as Boeing prepares to shed 4,000 positions by mid-June.

“Now that we have numbers, imagine how much talk there will be about it today?” employee Matthew Shaffer said.

The aerospace company says hundreds of managers and executives are accepting voluntary layoffs.

The rest of the cuts will come from attrition and not filling open positions.

Despite reassurances that involuntary layoffs would only be used as a last resort, some say they can’t help worrying.

“If cuts come, it could quite possibly affect me in a very direct way,” Shaffer said.

Machinist Union District 751 says they have not been notified of the cuts.

The union tried last year to lobby lawmakers to tie guaranteed job numbers to state tax incentives, pointing out that Boeing was given $8.7 billion in tax breaks.

“Why would you give tax incentives to people that make more homeless?” Johnson asked.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday addressed the news, saying he was concerned.

“We have the best workers here; they do the best job. We are going to continue working on these issues,” Inslee said.

Despite the pending cuts, one expert who closely studies the local economy says the short-term impact on the community is not significant.

“Unemployment rates are very low right now -- (there's) a lot of hiring needs across sectors,” Community Attributes CEO Chris Mefford said.

But the robust economy isn't enough to keep some workers from fearing the worst.

“They are all bracing for the layoffs coming down,” Johnson said.

Mefford says if Boeing cuts a lot more jobs beyond the 4,000 positions, then we could see a local impact. But as of Wednesday, there was no Boeing word on further cuts.




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