Boeing plans to lay off 800 machinists in work force cutback

SEATTLE - The Boeing Co. said Friday it plans to lay off about 800 employees from the ranks of machinists by the end of the year as part of a work force reduction strategy.

Boeing spokesman Marc Bertel said other reductions will be made through attrition, by not filling open positions and other means, resulting in a total employment reduction of 2,000 to 2,300 workers.

All of the layoffs are expected to come from the 747 jumbo jet and 787 Dreamliner lines in Everett.

Bertel said more employees were needed in the initial stages of production on those airliners because of the necessity to go back and make changes. Now that production has stabilized, some of those workers are no longer needed, he said.

Boeing officials said the work force cutbacks are not related to the 787's recent battery problems, which have resulted in a worldwide grounding of the revolutionary new aircraft.

Boeing has not issued layoff notices yet. The company has contacted the local district of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents most workers who will be laid off.

The company also has moved 500 workers to other parts of the company.

A Machinists Union spokesman, Bryan Corliss, said the layoffs appear to be an inevitable result of less disruption on the 787 line and the winding down of changes and refurbishments associated with the initial development of the 747-8.

"This is not the start of a Boeing down cycle," he said. "Unlike past layoffs, there are no production rate decreases on any airplane line. Production rates remain high and there is a seven-year backlog."