SPEEA Is Ready To Fight
report uncovered by the Seattle Times claims Boeing is
considering selling its 75-year-old manufacturing plant in Wichita
(KS), as part of a long-term shift to building aircraft while
eliminating its components work.
Citing an internal strategic-planning document obtained from a
company insider, The Seattle Times reported in Sunday's edition
that Boeing's main portion of the aircraft-manufacturing process --
the beginning and the end -- are expected to be centered in
Everett, Wash., where final assembly of the 7E7 Dreamliner is
planned. The document also confirms that Boeing one day anticipates
closing its Renton (WA) plant, although the timing of this
move was not clear. Alan Mulally, CEO of Boeing Commercial
Airplanes claims the plant will continue producing airplanes
until the 737 program ends, probably in 15 or 20 years.
The planning report
also indicated that the timing of any sale was unclear and that no
prospective buyers were named. Nevertheless, the worker's union is
not happy with the rumor. The Society of Professional Engineering
Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, is preparing a
formal request for copies of the internal management document cited
in a copyrighted story in the Sunday (Jan. 25) edition of The
Seattle Times. According to the Times, the document outlines plans
to sell the Wichita plant and others as Boeing strives to become
"leaner." While Boeing has not talked with SPEEA officials about
the plan, the union claims rumors of sales are commonplace among
employees. In recent weeks, rumors of possible plans to sell the
Wichita plant surfaced again throughout the company.
"Boeing must acknowledge and negotiate the effects any sale
would have on represented employees in Wichita or anywhere else,"
said Charles Bofferding, executive director of SPEEA. "SPEEA will
be involved in the process to ensure that employees' and the
community's interests are represented and protected."
The Wichita plant,
which employs about 12,400 people, houses the largest remaining
segment of aircraft-component manufacturing within Boeing. Selling
the facility would be the most dramatic move yet in the company's
stated quest to reduce its airplane part manufacturing
If fully implemented, the plant closures and divestments
outlined in the document would cut in half the national footprint
of Boeing Commercial Airplanes from 52 million to 26 million square
feet and cut the work force from 55,000 today to about 44,000.