Boeing layoff tally reaches 245, more expected

EVERETT — The Boeing Co. laid off 245 workers this month, according to a notification filed with the state.

The tally includes 173 union-represented employees who were laid off March 17. It is not clear when the 72 non-union workers were laid off. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The 245 workers will be let go by May 19, according to the state notification.

The cuts come as Boeing trims its workforce to reduce labor costs through buyouts, attrition, limited hiring freezes and layoffs. Company executives have said they want to limit layoffs. So far, they appear to be succeeding. While the company has laid off several hundred workers over the past year, its workforce has dropped by more than 13,600 since the beginning of 2016.

Officials from several unions representing Boeing workers have said they expect more layoffs to be announced in April.

The company is aggressively squeezing down expenses in other areas, including supplier prices, to bolster its bottom line against market pressures, including less cash coming in from its 777 program.

The twin-aisle airplane was a big earner for Boeing until recent years as the company transitions from the classic 777 airplane family to its successor, the 777X. Orders have dropped for the classic 777 models. Boeing has had to offer customers steep discounts and cut 777 production. So the company is earning less on each plane and making fewer of them.

The company faces other pressures to its bottom line. At the same time, company leaders have promised to significantly boost profits and cash for shareholders. Investment analysts who track Boeing say the company has to cut costs to make good on those pledges. Even after stomping down expenses, there is no consensus among Wall Street analysts that Boeing will be able to deliver so much value to investors.

On March 16, the company offered a new round of buyouts to many white-collar workers around Puget Sound and in Oregon. Earlier this year, about 1,800 union workers took buyouts from Boeing. The company has not said how many non-union employees accepted the offer.

Earlier this month, Boeing reported that the company’s chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, received about $15 million in compensation in 2016, up from $13.2 million the prior year.

Also, Kevin McAllister, the new head of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, received a $2 million signing bonus after joining the company in November. He also received 120,000 Boeing shares to make up for retirement benefits and unvested stock awards he lost when he left General Electric. The Boeing shares were worth $17.8 million at the time. When the stock market opened Friday, the shares were worth $21.2 million.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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