A Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker takes off from Paine Field in Everett in 2019. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker takes off from Paine Field in Everett in 2019. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

2,500 Boeing workers to resume work in Everett and elsewhere

With COVID-19 still a concern, the company promised to “have all of the necessary safety measures in place.”

EVERETT — The Boeing Co. will resume some production work at Washington locations, including the Everett assembly plant, as early as Monday with a focus mostly on military programs, the company said late Friday.

What it called a limited resumption of activities will focus on the Everett-built KC-46 tanker, a derivative of the 767, and the Renton-built P-8 anti-submarine airplane, a derivative of the 737.

About 2,500 employees in all will resume work on those two military lines in the Puget Sound area and at a company operation in Moses Lake in Eastern Washington, where Boeing has stored hundreds of grounded 737 Max jetliners.

A Boeing spokeswoman declined to say how many employees would resume work at the Everett factory, saying the company doesn’t share that level of detail about specific sites.

“Boeing’s work supporting the Department of Defense as a part of the defense industrial base is a matter of national security and has been deemed critical,” the company said in a statement Friday sent to employees.

Boeing said it will phase in the return of employees in a way that “gives us the ability to ensure we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to get back to our regular business.”

Boeing shut down operations for 14 days at Puget Sound-area locations on March 25, three days after a worker at the plant in Everett died from COVID-19. Prior to the man’s death, numerous workers on the factory floor complained to news media about a lack of cleaning supplies and overwhelmed and overworked cleaning crews.

The Chicago-based company was scheduled to resume operations this week, but on Sunday it announced it would extend a temporary shutdown of Puget Sound operations, as well as those in Moses Lake, until further notice as the coronavirus pandemic continued to spread across the nation. That decision to continue the work suspension came days after Gov. Jay Inslee officially prolonged his stay-at-home order for another month.

“Our commitment to our employees’ health and safety is our top priority,” the company said. “At all our sites we have taken extra precautions and instituted new procedures to keep people safe and fight the spread of COVID-19. The company’s practices are aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization guidelines.”

Among other precautions, Boeing will implement employee wellness checks at the start of every shift and mandate staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of workers arriving and departing. Employees will be required to wear masks or face coverings.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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