Boeing yesterday said it would be cutting more engineer jobs. Boeing’s engineers’ union, SPEEA, was quick to fire back.
The following message was sent today from Mike Delaney, VP of Engineering for Commercial Airplanes, to all engineering managers.
Employment actions being taken to meet the challenges ahead
My message today provides context and background on actions we are taking regarding the employment level in BCA Engineering.
As we move from a lengthy period of non-recurring development efforts, BCA Engineering will require fewer employees by year-end. Overall, we must reduce our Engineering employment level by 1,500 to 1,700 positions during 2013.
We have already taken action. During the past year, we significantly scaled back external hiring to maximize redeployment opportunities across the function. Since last fall, we also have steadily reduced use of contract employees. Almost 700 contract employees have left the payroll since October 2012, and we will continue that effort where appropriate. Additionally, attrition associated with retirements and other departures has reduced employment. That, too, will continue.
Unfortunately and unavoidably we must take additional actions that will impact some direct employees. Beginning tomorrow and through the rest of 2013 we will issue 60-day layoff notices to as many as 700 employees in our function. On Friday, approximately 100 individuals in the Manufacturing Engineering (ME) skill in the Puget Sound region will receive notices. Those employees are the first to receive layoff notices because they directly support the production system, which has been stabilizing in parts of our major development programs. You may recall that several hundred hourly employees in Manufacturing & Quality also received notices.
This has been a difficult decision. We know layoffs impact individuals and families.
We are taking these actions now for two reasons. First, completion of non-recurring development work on the 747-8, 787-9 and the KC-46 Tanker will result in lower overall Engineering employment requirements. But also, potential development programs for the 787-10X and 777X, which might have provided opportunities to avoid these layoffs, have not been formally approved and launched.
I realize this news may be surprising. Commercial Airplanes has been on an upswing for several years. We continue to ramp up production on our major programs, and the prospect for future development work is very positive. The challenge we are facing is that those yet-to-be-launched programs are too far out for us to maintain present levels of employment.
We hope to mitigate the number of layoffs through the reductions we are making in contract labor, by natural attrition and by not filling many open positions. As we have always done, Boeing will support employees with layoff benefits and career-transition services.
We regret the disruption this situation may cause for some employees and their families but the prudent actions we are taking now will position us to remain competitive and provide future opportunities.
As our management team, please make yourself available for questions and conversations with your team about this situation.
Thanks for all you do for Engineering and Boeing.
As The Boeing Company works to assure the FAA and customers the 787 is ready to resume service, the company today (Thursday, April 18) announced plans to reduce its workforce by 1,500 to 1,700 engineers and technical workers – the same Northwest employees who found remedies to the problems caused by misguided corporate outsourcing.
What Boeing Commercial Airplane Vice President of Engineering Mike Delaney did not say in his message to employees announcing the reduction is it comes hand-in-hand with a new push to outsource more 787 engineering and technical work to the Moscow Design Center, SPEEA said. Information of the push to send more work to Moscow came from multiple and varied sources within Boeing.
“We find it extremely disappointing that Boeing Commercial Airplanes is actively outsourcing engineering work to the Moscow Design Center while laying off employees in the Northwest,” said Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001.
SPEEA contract administrators are working to get more information regarding Boeing’s employment reduction. The action, which could include 700 layoffs, will be closely monitored for compliance with SPEEA contracts and company procedures. The union is already working with a number of managers who are helping employees find new positions within Boeing.
While the company says it is outsourcing less, SPEEA said key operations are continuing the push to use contract labor over more experienced and committed full-time Boeing employees.
Boeing’s recent decision to move flight simulators from Renton to Miami will also result in the elimination of 36 simulator instructor pilot and five standards pilot positions by the first quarter of 2014. Last fall, members in SPEEA’s Airplane Manufacturing Pilots Association (AMPA) bargaining unit cast a vote of “no confidence” in Flight Services Management based on the escalating practice of using temporary, contract pilots to train the pilots of airlines buying Boeing aircraft.
A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents 26,560 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas, and Triumph Composite Systems, Inc., in Spokane, Wash.