Boeing has fired 65 employees and disciplined another 53 for racist, discriminatory and hateful conduct. (Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)

Boeing has fired 65 employees and disciplined another 53 for racist, discriminatory and hateful conduct. (Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)

Boeing says it fired 65 workers for hateful words or actions

The company wants to increase its Black representation by 20% in the U.S. by 2025.

By Julie Johnsson and Jeff Green / Bloomberg

Boeing has fired 65 employees and disciplined another 53 for racist, discriminatory and hateful conduct since Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun vowed “zero tolerance” in June.

The CEO is trying to make good on an anti-bigotry pledge he made last year after George Floyd’s murder by a police officer spurred protests across the U.S. Now, in a bid for greater transparency, Boeing is releasing a breakdown of its employees by gender, race and ethnicity — and the report shows that the company has a long way to go to attain its goal of a more diverse workforce.

“As we have witnessed horrific images in the news and heard heartbreaking stories from our people, our determination to advance equity, diversity and inclusion has only become stronger,” Calhoun told employees Friday.

Boeing is working to bolster inclusion as investors press U.S. companies to help address deep-seated racism and to be more transparent about their own hiring practices. McDonald’s is tying executive bonuses to targets for increasing underrepresented groups. Investor proposals for independent racial audits were backed by more than one-third of Johnson & Johnson and Citigroup Inc. shareholders at annual meetings this month.

While Calhoun tries to reboot the company culture, Boeing is being sued for racial discrimination. According to allegations in a recent case in federal court in South Carolina, a Black employee faced retaliation and a hostile work environment, as well as a supervisor who routinely assigned African-American workers to a building with undesirable and hazardous working conditions. Boeing denies the allegations.

One of Calhoun’s first hires after taking the top job last year was Michael D’Ambrose as human resources chief, with a mandate to bolster diversity. According to Boeing’s demographic data released Friday, a company that has traditionally skewed White and male has a lot of work ahead to add more women and people of color to its ranks.

Black employees make up just 6.4% of Boeing’s U.S. workforce and 4.4% of its engineers. Women account for 23% of employees and 17% of engineers.

“We’re on par with the aerospace industry, and we don’t think that’s anywhere good enough,” D’Ambrose said in an interview.

Boeing intends to release the snapshot of its 140,000-strong workforce annually to track its progress, along with another measure of its demographics contained on a form known as EEO-1 that corporations are required to disclose to the federal government.

The company wants to increase its Black representation by 20% in the U.S. by 2025, which would still leave the total number at less than 8% of the company’s workforce. At the current rate, it will take Black Americans 95 years to reach workforce parity in all levels of U.S. private industry, having 12% representation at every level of a company, according to a February report from McKinsey & Co.

Boeing is taking steps such as creating action plans to address the root cause of representation gaps in its workforce and briefing directors every eight weeks on the progress toward building diversity and inclusion. Encouraging employees with different backgrounds and life experiences to speak up is good for business, D’Ambrose said.

“By being more diverse, more inclusive, we will make better decisions,”he said.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Students use a modular skills trainer during class Thursday morning at Edmonds Community College on April 29, 2021.
(Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Nurses Week, from May 6- 12, honors the nation’s caregivers

Local nursing students and faculty say they couldn’t let the pandemic get in the way of their goals.

The Waterfront Place Apartments north building at the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place cold see residents moving in by May 15. on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Now playing at the Port of Everett: sudden density

New Waterfront Place Apartments open May 15 at the port — local retailers welcome the influx.

Highland Simulant, a simulated lunar soil made by Off Planet Research, pours from a researcher's hands. Photo credit: Off Planet Research
Space company makes a soft landing at the Port of Everett

Off Planet Research creates simulated lunar soils here, so that moon landers can touch down gently.

Owners Krista and Eric Brown sit among rows of wines at The Grape & Grain, a new independent beer and wine store on Evergreen Way, on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New Everett wine and beer shop focuses on local brands

The Grape & Grain store offers wine and beer from “our backyard” — Washington, Oregon and California.

Chai Cupboard is a new loose tea and spice shop downtown, owned by Jeni Ellis and husband Tim, on Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New downtown Everett store offers loose tea and spices

Bring your tea caddy or spice jar: Chai Cupboard carries more than 100 teas and 100 spices.

Indian drink condiments cartoon vector illustration. Traditional beverage flavourings in wooden bowls flat color object. Tea additives, hot drink ingredients isolated on white background
You voted: The best Indian food in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. Amazon, which has been under pressure from shoppers, brands and lawmakers to crack down on counterfeits on its site, said Monday, May 10, 2021, that it blocked more than 10 billion suspected phony listings last year before any of their offerings could be sold. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon blocked 10 billion listings in counterfeit crackdown

Scammers tried to take advantage of shoppers who were buying more online during the pandemic.

A Mexican tacos food truck, people ordering and waiting their takeaway food
You voted: The best food truck in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

One of the Jetty Island ferry captains waits for boarders as the ferry begins operations for the summer on Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2016 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Port, county to pay Everett for Jetty Island ferry this year

The Port of Everett and Snohomish County plan to make an online system for $3 reservations.

Boeing crash victims’ families push for changes at FAA

Hundreds are demanding the ouster of the agency’s administrator, Stephen Dickson, and others.

fish and chips cartoon
You voted: The best fish and chips in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

An artist’s rendering of the Amazon distribution center at the Cascade Industrial Center in Arlington.
A tax break used by Arlington, Marysville goes statewide

It’s helped land businesses in Cascade Industrial Center. Soon every city will get a chance to try it.