SEATTLE — The Boeing Company is offering voluntary buyouts to eligible employees to try and reduce costs and adjust its workforce amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a letter to employees Thursday, Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said eligible employees who want to exit the company will receive a pay and benefits package. The move "aims to reduce the need for other workforce actions."
Calhoun said in the letter that it will take time for the aerospace industry to recover from the coronavirus crisis and that the company is “doing everything we can to protect the future of our business.”
“When the world emerges from the pandemic, the size of the commercial market and the types of products and services our customers want and need will likely be different. We will need to balance the supply and demand accordingly as the industry goes through the recovery process for years to come,” Calhoun wrote.
More details about the voluntary layoff, like how the program works and who is eligible, would be announced in three or four weeks.
Calhoun said commercial, defense and space, and services programs will continue, adding, “we'll continue to drive the safe return to service of the 737 MAX.”
Boeing announced it would temporarily suspend production operations in its Puget Sound area facilities due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington state. The 14-day operations shutdown began on March 25. An exclusive KING 5 News poll found 53% of respondents agreed with Boeing’s decision to temporarily shut down production, although nearly one-third of respondents thought it should have happened sooner.
At least 30 Boeing employees have tested positive for the virus.
There are 71,829 Boeing employees in Washington state, according to the company's website.