Boeing Offers Voluntary Buyouts at North Charleston Plant
A little over a month after laying off dozens at the North Charleston plant, America’s biggest aircraft manufacturing giant is now offering buyouts to the remaining workers.
Aerospace behemoth Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) has confirmed that it is offering voluntary buyouts to workers at the South Carolina manufacturing plant, where the “787 Dreamliner” aircraft is built.
The workers who have been offered the buyouts include flight readiness technicians and flight readiness inspectors. The workers have until Friday, August 4, to accept the offer and take voluntary exits from the company.
If the necessary number of workers don’t opt for the buyouts, the company may once again choose to lay off additional employees. The spokesperson for Boeing South Carolina, Lori Gunter, says that the company will have a clear idea by next week of whether layoffs would be necessary. She says some employees may be reassigned to other job functions or transferred to other locations.
The spokeswoman said, “There is still time remaining on that (buyout) offer and once we know the response, we will work through next steps.” Gunter further added, “It’s premature to assume the next step is involuntary layoffs.”
Boeing Cuts Costs to Stay Competitive
The buyout offer has come just over a month after Boeing laid off nearly 200 employees at the same facility. The layoffs primarily hurt managers and salaried employees.
The company cited the layoffs as part of its cost-cutting efforts in order to stay competitive with its rivals—the most noteworthy being the French aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE (EPA:AIR).
To keep up with its archrival, Boeing is making efforts to make its manufacturing processes more efficient by employing fewer workers and more automation. In the process, the company has cut its employee headcount by nearly 6,000 this year alone.
In the North Charleston region, Boeing has trimmed its workforce by about 300 employees through layoffs, attrition, or buyouts.
Nonetheless, Boeing remains one of the largest employers in North Charleston. As of late, Boeing South Carolina employs about 7,320 employees and contractors.
“Boeing offers more buyouts at North Charleston campus, layoffs could follow,” The Post and Courier, July 31, 2017.