Boeing Moves 1,000 Customer Support Jobs Out Of Wash. State To SoCal

Apr 10, 2014

Boeing is moving about 1,000 of its customer support jobs out of Washington and into Southern California.

The company said Thursday that it is centralizing its customer support to its engineering design center in Southern California. It already employs 1,800 people at its Long Beach and Seal Beach sites there.

The company says the move will tap into existing engineering talent in California and improve customer service by putting its resources in a single location.

Southern California

Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton says it makes sense for Boeing to find other uses for its Southern California sites as production of the C-17 military aircraft winds down next year. 

"You have all kinds of space down there. You have all kinds of talent down there," Hamilton said. "From a corporate standpoint, you want to find a way to continue to use that talent."

But Ray Goforth sees other factors at play. He's the executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, the union that represents Boeing engineers and technical workers in Washington state.

Goforth says this is a move by Boeing to replace older workers with younger, cheaper employees, but it could backfire as the company loses institutional knowledge.

"Just hiring people off the street that just happen to be smart engineers, you're not going to have that expertise," Goforth said. 

But company spokesman Doug Alder says this decision is a "business strategy, not a labor strategy." And he says the employees in the Puget Sound region affected by the decision will be given the chance to apply for jobs in California or elsewhere in the company.

Boeing, which is based in Chicago, established engineering design centers last year in South Carolina, Southern California and Washington to meet increasing demand for its airplanes.