Boeing plans to consolidate most the services and support-related activities for its Boeing Defense, Space & Security unit at two sites, in Oklahoma City, where up to 900 positions could be added, and St. Louis, where up to 500 positions may be added. Most of the positions lost would be from operations now in Washington State.
In addition to the building up the Oklahoma City and St. Louis operations, some activities will be shifted to Jacksonville, Fla. and Patuxent River, Md.
It’s the latest move in Boeing’s efforts to resize and reposition its labor-intensive operations to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. The jet builder has been criticized by labor groups for several decisions that have eliminated positions in Washington State, and the latest announcement could affect about 2,000 workers in total.
Boeing also emphasized that its defense business has approximately 5,200 employees in the Puget Sound region, including those working on the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and KC-46A tanker programs, both of which are based on the company’s 737 and 767 jet platforms.
Boeing pledged to “leverage” the operations of Boeing Commercial Airplanes presence in Washington “to mitigate the impact of this decision on individual employees.” It also promised assistance and resources — job search, retirement seminars, career counseling — for employees to help them through the transition.
“The decision to consolidate these activities was difficult because it affects our employees, their families, and their communities,” stated Chris Chadwick, Boeing Defense, Space & Security president and chief executive officer. “However, this is necessary if we are going to differentiate ourselves from competitors and stay ahead of a rapidly changing global defense environment.”
Programs to be relocated include services and support work for Airborne Warning and Control Systems, Airborne Early Warning & Control, and the F-22 Raptor.
“Consolidating this work will allow the business to more efficiently use the resources and capabilities across the company,” according to Jim O’Neill, president of Global Services and Support for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “Our goal is to minimize disruption to program execution by making the necessary changes in an orderly transition.”