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Boeing S.C. anticipates voluntary layoffs in 2017

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Boeing South Carolina expects to have an unspecified number of voluntary layoffs in early 2017 amid companywide job cuts.

Boeing declined to answer how many voluntary layoffs would occur and which departments or jobs would be affected at the aerospace giant’s North Charleston campus, which employs about 8,000 people.

“We are working to minimize the potential for involuntary layoffs by reducing our contractor levels, not filling vacant posts and other measures,” company spokeswoman Lori Gunter said in an email.

The news comes as the site recently celebrated several production milestones, including beginning final assembly work on the first-ever 787-10 Dreamliner and the opening of a 360,000-square-foot paint facility.

Gunter said it is too early to discuss the possibility of involuntary layoffs at Boeing S.C.

The entire leadership team is working hard and making every effort to avoid that scenario,” Gunter said.

The Boeing Co. looks to cut costs further in 2017 following job cuts in 2016 amid stiff industry competition and declining sales, company officials have said.

Boeing announced in February plans to cut at least 4,000 jobs from its Boeing Commercial Airplanes division to reduce costs in plane production. For South Carolina, that meant 200 engineers received voluntary layoff buyout offers in April.

The voluntary severance package offers employees one week of pay for every year with Boeing, up to 26 weeks. They must have been employed with Boeing for at least one year to be eligible. The company did not disclose how many Boeing S.C. engineers accepted those offers.

Boeing’s Washington sites are also currently preparing for layoffs, according to The Seattle Times.

The story said jobs will be cut through a voluntary buyout program and attrition, meaning open jobs will remain unfilled. The story also said involuntary layoffs remain a possibility there as well. Boeing has cut more than 6,000 jobs in Washington this year, according to the Times.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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