EVERETT, Wash. — Exactly 24 hours after announcing it would suspend production operations in Washington state until further notice because of the novel coronavirus, Boeing on Monday announced similar moves for its 787 factories in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The company said it was concerned about the health and safety of its employees, as well as the stability of the global supply chain.
Production line workers in Boeing South Carolina are now entering the phase that their coworkers in Washington thought they were about to leave, 10 days of paid leave, followed by an indefinite amount of time off.
Employees “who can work remotely will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for 10 working days of the suspension, which is double the company policy. After 10 days, teammates will have the option to use a combination of available paid time off benefits or file for emergency state unemployment benefits,” said the company in a news release.
Benefits will continue during the suspension of operations, the company said.
Here in Washington, the Machinists union is working to help its members secure unemployment benefits that have been enhanced for those workers on furlough because of the economic fallout of COVID-19.
“We are moving as quickly as possible to provide our members support during this difficult time and want to help minimize your frustration when applying for UI benefits,” IAM District 751 announced on its website.
But the union which represents 31,000 workers is asking its members to wait a few days before applying for benefits, saying they are working with the Washington State Employment Security Department to avoid overwhelming the system.
Boeing announced that while the 787 program is suspended, the company will continue to clean the site and monitor the global supply chain as the coronavirus situation evolves.
When the suspension is lifted, the 787 program will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality, integrity and meeting customer commitments, according to Boeing.
The state of South Carolina has 2,232 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus, including 48 people who have died.