Aerospace & Defense

WA: Boeing Reassigns 3,000 737 Max Workers With Factory Shutdown Looming

13 Jan, 2020

With a shutdown looming for the Boeing 737 Max production facility, the company plans to reassign its 737 Max workforce, which numbers about 3,000 workers.
Bloomberg reports that an internal bulletin recently provides details of Boeing’s plans to keep its 737 workforce intact through an indefinite shutdown of the narrow-body jet that was announced late last month. Regulators banned the Max from flying after a March 10 crash, the second fatal accident within five months. The tragedies killed 346 people and plunged the largest U.S. industrial company into crisis.
Boeing faces a complex task managing the shutdown and eventual restart of the 737, one of its main sources of profit, amid the tightest U.S. job market in decades, Bloomberg reports. The Chicago-based planemaker doesn’t expect to lay off or furlough workers because of the production suspension, Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial airplane division reiterated in a separate message to employees.
Within its Seattle-area manufacturing hub, Boeing plans to “loan” 737 mechanics, engineers and staff to the 767, 777 and 777X programs at its Everett wide-body factory. South Carolina employees who work on the Max’s propulsion systems will be shifted to the 787 program in North Charleston, Boeing said.
Other workers from Boeing’s 737 factory will help manage some of the 400 or so Max that the company has put in storage at an airport in eastern Washington, and at a new site that it’s opening in Victorville, Calif., reports Bloomberg. The remainder will focus on initiatives at the factory where the Max is manufactured in Renton, Wash., including improvements to standard work processes.
Production will officially halt when the airplane with line number 7896 rolls out of the factory, Boeing said. The company told workers that it hasn’t decided when work will restart, citing uncertainty over the timing and conditions under which regulators eventually return the Max to service, and the training that will be required for flight crews.