AMERICAS: Boeing set to slash 4,500 jobs

Chicago-based Boeing has announced that it will eliminate 4,500 jobs from its commercial work force in 2009, with 60-day layoff notices going out next month. Most of the jobs will be cut from its Seattle-based commercial airplane division. The job cuts will not be unionized machinists – which paralysed the company with a strike late […]


Chicago-based Boeing has announced that it will eliminate 4,500 jobs from its commercial work force in 2009, with 60-day layoff notices going out next month.

Most of the jobs will be cut from its Seattle-based commercial airplane division. The job cuts will not be unionized machinists – which paralysed the company with a strike late last year – but rather administrative positions and what the company described as employees in “overhead functions.”

“This is a difficult and painful decision,” Scott Carson, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in an e-mail to all commercial employees.

“As we look forward to 2009 and see daily headlines of how a growing global recession is impacting economies, it is clear that industries and individuals must prepare for a year of tough challenges,” Carson said. “Airlines are seeing passenger and freight traffic decline.

“Our customers are cutting back on capacity by parking older airplanes, reducing orders for spares and taking other steps to deal with the current business environment,” he wrote.

The 4,500 jobs represent about 6.6 per cent of Boeing’s total commercial work force of 67,659 as at the end of December. Boeing, in a news release, said it wants to reduce its commercial employment to where it was at the start of 2008, or around 63,500.