Boeing to lay off 800 local machinists, shrink workforce

Mar 22, 2013

The Boeing Co. will lay off approximately 800 local workers in the Puget Sound area as part of a larger plan to reduce local headcount by 2,000 to 2,300 people, the company said Friday.

Spokesman Doug Alder said affected employees are machinists who handle refurbishment and change incorporation — implementing necessary post-production updates — to the 787 and the 747-8 models.

“The newer airplanes have less changes that need to be made,” Alder said. “That work will continue, but we’re confident that (reduced) level will be enough to support change incorporation and our plans around rate increase.”

The remaining workforce reduction will result from attrition.

The company does not have a specific timeline for the layoffs; Alder said the changes will take effect over the course of the year.

“What we did was inform managers who are holding team meetings,” said Alder, adding the machinists’ union has been notified. “No one has received any warn notices. Those things will start to happen.”

Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton says he wasn't surprised by the news. He says Boeing has been working to improve its processes and the two airplane programs are now farther along.

"There are fewer numbers of airplanes that need change incorporation," Hamilton said. "As you get more proficient with it, all the change incorporation would be more efficiently done."