Boeing laying off hundreds more engineers

Boeing Co. plans to lay off hundreds of engineers amid slowing aircraft sales, the company announced Monday.

The workforce reduction scheduled for June 23 comes after the Chicago-based manufacturer laid off about 1,800 mechanics and engineers earlier this year.

"Today’s announcement involves involuntary layoffs in the engineering function of commercial airplanes," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said. "We expect that hundreds of employees will impacted in Washington state and other locations across the enterprise."

The union representing the company’s engineers, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, said 60-day notices will go out to workers on Friday. The union has asked for skill codes and plant locations of the laid-off workers, but has not yet been told where they are.

"It's very disappointing," said Bill Dugovich. a union spokesman. "The workforce here in Washington state has now been cut by the Boeing Co. by more than 12,600 jobs since Washington state gave the company the largest tax break in U.S. history in November 2013."

Rich Plunkett, SPEEA’s director of strategic development, said the union asked Boeing to expand the voluntary layoff program and provide other assistance to employees.

Boeing has cut 1,332 engineering and technical jobs from its Washington workforce since January, according to the union. More than 300 other engineering and technical workers who opted for a voluntary layoff earlier this year will exit Friday, according to the union.

The personnel moves follow the plan outlined to Boeing Commercial Airplanes employees in December 2016, according to a company statement.

"In an ongoing effort to increase overall competitiveness and invest in our future, we are reducing costs and matching employment levels to business and market requirements," the company said in a statement. "Employment reductions, including managers and executives, will come through a combination of attrition, leaving open positions unfilled, a voluntary layoff program and in some cases, involuntary layoffs."

Boeing had 146,962 total workers, including 74,196 in its commercial airplane division, on March 30, according to the company. That compares to 159,054 total workers a year earlier, including 82,127 in commercial airplanes, according to the company.

Despite the workforce turmoil, Boeing completed the maiden flight of its latest version of the 737 on April 13. The plane is the second, and currently largest, installment in the company's 737 MAX family of aircraft. The MAX 9 bests its older sibling — the smaller MAX 8 — by almost nine feet in length.

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