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Boeing Reportedly Considering a 10% Cut to Its Workforce

Boeing's plan could involve buyouts, early retirements and involuntary layoffs, a report says.

Boeing  (BA)  is considering a plan to reduce its workforce by about 10%, according to a report.

The plan could involve buyouts, early retirements and involuntary layoffs, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

The cuts from Boeing's workforce largely were expected to come from the aerospace giant's commercial arm, which has been pressured by the crisis in the global airline industry.

No decision on cuts was imminent, one of the people briefed on the matter told the Journal, and the potential 10% reduction was among scenarios under consideration. 

Boeing last week announced voluntary buyout offers for its roughly 160,000 employees as it continues to grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on air travel, and the prospect of a long-term halt on new-plane orders.

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Boeing CEO David Calhoun said the voluntary layoffs offer “aims to reduce the need for other workforce actions.” 

The airplane maker, still reeling from the prolonged grounding of its 737 MAX following two fatal crashes, earlier this week announced it temporarily will be suspending all 787 operations at its factory in Charleston, South Carolina, following an order from Gov. Henry McMaster mandating that residents must stay at home and limit non-essential activity.

"It is our commitment to focus on the health and safety of our teammates while assessing the spread of [coronavirus] across the state, its impact on the reliability of our global supply chain and that ripple effect on the 787 program," said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "We are working in alignment with state and local government officials and public health officials to take actions that best protect our people." 

The plant in South Carolina was Boeing's last commercial-jet factory still operating during the coronavirus outbreak.

Boeing said late Sunday that its manufacturing hubs in the Seattle area would remain closed indefinitely due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Boeing, in an email to Washington employees, said it was extending the planned two-week shutdown in Seattle rather than reopening Wednesday. The decision affects about 30,000 of Boeing’s 70,000 employees in the state.