LOS ANGELES Boeing Co.
will reduce engineering employment this year, it said, as its
largest white-collar union claims the company is also actively
looking to shift aircraft design work to Russia.
Chicago-based Boeing will cut
1,500 to 1,700 engineering jobs this year, Mike Delaney, vice
president of engineering at Seattle-based subsidiary Boeing
Commercial Airplanes (BCA), said in a statement.
While he noted that nearly 700
contract employeeswho are normally non-unionhave
left Boeings payroll since last October and further cuts
will take place through attrition, he also said BCA must
"unavoidably" make additional cutbacks among its direct
employees. Through the rest of the year, BCA will send 60-day
layoff notices to as many as 700 additional employees.
The plane builder intended to
begin issuing the first of these notices April 19 to about 100
manufacturing engineering employees, "because they directly
support the production system, which has been stabilizing in
parts of our major development programs," Delaney noted.
Meanwhile, the Society of
Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), which
represents more than 26,000 Boeing engineers and technicians,
has charged that the cutback announcement failed to disclose
what SPEEA claims is a company policy to further outsource work
Union members have said that
lately they have been "directed by management to find work to
go to Russia, where Boeing operates a Moscow design center and
where it has already "shifted a lot of technical work," an
SPEEA spokesman in Tukwila, Wash., said.
The spokesman couldnt say
if this shift is part of any overall program that would involve
sending manufacturing work to Russia. Ural Boeing
Manufacturing, a joint venture of Boeing and Russias
VSMPO-Avisma Corp., machines titanium forgings for the Boeing
787 and 737 airliners in Verkhnaya Salda.
"But what this indicates is that
while Boeing has a public face of bringing outsourcing back (to
the United States), there are areas where theyre actively
sending work away," he said.
A Boeing spokesman could not be
reached for comment.
SPEEA engineers and technicians
earlier this year signed separate three-year labor deals with
Boeing that acceded to its insistence that new hires after
March 1 dont receive a defined benefit pension but
instead get an "enhanced 401(k)" plan (
amm.com, March 19).
Delaney said that development
programs for the newest versions of Boeings 777 and 787
Dreamliner programs, "which might have provided opportunities
to avoid these layoffs," havent been formally approved
Boeing has already indicated it
will lay off about 800 members of the International Association
of Machinists and Aerospace Workers this year as its assembly
lines for the 787 and the 747-8 programs become more