SEATTLE -- On Friday night, Boeing shared that some of its Puget Sound and Moses Lake operations will restart as early as Monday, putting 2,500 employees back to work.
That news comes on the heels of a report earlier in the day in The Wall Street Journal, which said Boeing is considering a plan to cut its workforce by as much as 10 percent.
It's a move that could impact thousands of Boeing employees in western Washington, as the report says a bulk of those cuts would likely come from the commercial sector. The commercial arm has been hit hard by turmoil in the airline industry caused by coronavirus.
Boeing employs roughly 160,000 people around the world, including about 70,000 in Washington state.
The company has already offered voluntary layoffs and buyouts for some employees in an effort to avoid forced layoffs.
In a response to Q13 News inquiring about the Wall Street Journal report, a Boeing spokesperson said, "No comment."
The spokesperson said the company is assessing a range of options but so far, the only official plan is voluntary layoffs, where some eligible employees could leave with a pay and benefits package. Details on that and who would qualify is still a few weeks away.
"When the world emerges from the pandemic, the size of the commercial market and the types of products and services our customers want and need will likely be different. We will need to balance the supply and demand accordingly as the industry goes through the recovery process for years to come," Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said in a note announcing the voluntary layoffs.
Roughly 30,000 employees across the Puget Sound have been impacted by the company's decision to continue suspended operations unpaid, forcing many to seek unemployment benefits this week.
Now, the decision to restart limited operations will impact 2,500 employees primarily focused on defense programs, including P-8 and KC-46 and Moses Lake site operations in support of 737 MAX storage.
Boeing said the the company has taken extra precautions and put in new procedures to keep people safe during the outbreak. That includes:
- Employee wellness checks at beginning of shift
- Staggered shift start times to reduce crowding
- Floor markings and signage to indicate proper social distancing
- Continued virtual meetings and working from home for employees who can
- Seating limited to one person per row on shuttles and dining areas
- Hand-washing stations and additional cleaning supplies
- Required mask wearing