Boeing will transfer another 1,000 engineering jobs from the Puget Sound area to Southern California by the end of next year, the company told employees Thursday.
In the latest blow to the company’s local engineering workforce, most of the group that provides technical support to airlines flying Boeing jets will move to Seal Beach and Long Beach.
Even the operations center at Boeing Field, where a team is on call 24/7 to respond to any technical issue with a Boeing airplane anywhere in the world, will move to California.
There may be further job losses among administrative staff that support the engineers whose work is moving.
Affected employees, many of them veterans of more than 20 years working at Boeing, will be offered relocation expenses to move to California, said Lynne Thompson, vice president of the customer support group.
“We want as many as possible to consider coming down” to California, Thompson said. “Other people will find work in other places, either inside of Boeing or outside.”
The move, which has been rumored for many months, is the latest and most significant in a series of engineering work transfers out of Washington state that began a year ago, soon after Boeing’s engineering union agreed to its current contract.
In an interview before the Thursday morning announcement, Mike Delaney, the head of engineering at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, explained the decision by outlining distinct future engineering roles for Boeing’s design centers in Washington state, Southern California and South Carolina.
He said engineers here will focus on developing new airplanes and building them efficiently, with the 777X project providing a new imperative of “transitioning to become a true world-class composite center for advanced manufacturing and design.”
Although support of Boeing’s airline customers is “a crown jewel” of the company, it’s distinct from this region’s central mission, he said.
“By having (customer support) in California, or having it outside the Puget Sound, we have an opportunity to have much greater focus and to attract and retain some of the best talent in California,” Delaney said.
Moving that work out, he said, will “declutter all the things we have to do up here.”
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SOURCE: DOMINIC GATES
The Seattle Times