Boeing plans to cut 5,000 jobs in 2003
SEATTLE -- The Boeing Co.'s commercial airplanes division expects to cut 5,000 jobs in 2003, Commercial Airplanes chief executive Alan Mulally said at an employee meeting Wednesday.
The reductions come on top of nearly 30,000 cuts the Chicago-based aerospace company has made since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mulally, who spoke to workers at Boeing's widebody jetliner assembly plant in Everett 30 miles north, said the company expects half the cuts to come through attrition and the remainder through layoffs.
In October, Boeing Chairman Phil Condit signaled that the company will need to make further job cuts, citing the airline industry's prolonged downturn.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Boeing has deferred deliveries of more than 500 jets as airlines, bleeding billions of dollars, dropped routes, parked planes and rescheduled new orders.
By the end of 2003, the Renton-based commercial planes division expects to have a work force of 60,000, down from its current 65,000, said spokesman Bill Cogswell. The first layoff notices will go out on Friday and take effect on Jan. 24, he said.
For the Machinists union, which has lost thousands of workers in the past year and lost a contract battle in September to win stronger job security guarantees, the prospect of additional losses comes hard.
"We've been cut pretty bare-bones," said Mark Blondin, president of District 751, which represents Machinists in the Puget Sound area. "We kind of assumed this was leveling out right now."
He added that the union feels the need for more people in the factories, saying many employees have to work mandatory overtime shifts. "I still feel we're understaffed out there," he said.
Boeing employs about 275 South Sound residents, most of whom belong to the Machinists union.
Boeing's engineering and technical workers union, which is voting on contract proposals from Boeing, said it also was dismayed by the news.
"One more layoff is one more too many," said Bill Dugovich, a spokesman for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. "We had certainly hoped we were done laying off people and had shifted the focus to start preparing for recovering in the future."
The job reductions are in addition to the 1,200 to 1,500 announced last month by Boeing's Bellevue-based Shared Services division, which handles computing, telecommunications, building maintenance and other in-house jobs for the aerospace company.
Boeing has spent the last few weeks trying to determine how many people it will need in the coming year to match employment with production levels, Cogswell said. The company expects to deliver between 275 and 285 jets in 2003, down from the 380 expected for this year.
Most of the new reductions will come in the Puget Sound area, Cogswell said, where Boeing builds its jetliners in factories in Everett and Renton.
The precise number of layoffs depends on the company maintaining its typical 4 percent to 5 percent attrition rate.
"We believe the employment reductions will impact all of our
areas, all of our employees, nonsalaried members and executives across
the board," said Cogswell.
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