How Boeing’s announcement to layoff some employees will impact Lowcountry workers

Local News

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Boeing announced layoffs across the company on Wednesday, including at its production facility in North Charleston, as it recovers from losses associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs will impact 10% of the entire workforce.

But facilities that produce commercial aircraft, like in North Charleston, means that could see 15% or more of their employees cut.

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike no other – it hits home for us personally and professionally.

During a conference call on Wednesday, Boeing’s president and CEO laid out the reality that a 95% drop in US airline passenger volume means a leaner Boeing Corporation.

“Airlines are cutting back their business dramatically as they assess operations, make difficult decisions resulting in grounding fleets, deferring airplane orders, postponing acceptance of orders and slowing down or stopping payments,” said Calhoun.

Boeing has about 160,000 employees. They plan on cutting about 10% of that workforce. That’s 16,000 people.

They hope to do that through voluntary layoffs and attrition, but the CEO says they believe they will also have to make involuntary layoffs.

How will that impact Charleston? Unfortunately, the commercial aircraft production and wide body aircraft like the 787 built here will be hit hardest.

15% or more of those employees are expected to be let go. That means of the 7,000 employees at Boeing in North Charleston, at least 1,050 will have to be eliminated in order to meet even that 15% threshold.

“I shared this news with our employees this morning. I’m committed to implementing this reduction fairly, respectfully, and transparently as possible. And providing as much support for employees as we can through the duration of this global health emergency we are facing.”

It’s sobering news here. To put things into perspective, they are literally cutting production of the 787 Dreamliner in half.

They were building about 14 per month between Washington and Charleston, and next year they plan on building about seven each month.

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