Nearly two months after announcing voluntary, company-wide layoffs, crony capitalist aerospace giant Boeing is axing 6,770 additional jobs via “involuntary” layoffs. Or to use a word people understand, firings. How many of those positions will be shed at the corporation’s North Charleston, South Carolina location? It is not immediately clear, although reporters at The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier have speculated that up to 1,000 Palmetto State employees could find themselves out of work as a result of the latest announcement.
Maybe more …
If accurate, that would constitute at least fifteen percent of the total workforce at the North Charleston facility – which was built a decade ago with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of taxpayer-funded incentives.
“Now we have come to the unfortunate moment of having to start involuntary layoffs,” embattled chief executive officer David Calhoun wrote in a statement released Wednesday. “For those of you who are notified, I want to offer my personal gratitude for the contributions you have made to Boeing, and I wish you and your families the very best.”
The bleeding is not over, either …
The latest Boeing job losses were attributed to the collapse of commercial air travel in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, however the Chicago-based firm was already on shaky ground before the virus hit due to a myriad of manufacturing issues.
“I wish there were some other way,” Calhoun wrote, neglecting to mention Boeing gave its former chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg a $62.2 million severance package just four months ago.
Calhoun also made no bones about the possible “recovery” of these jobs in the near-to-immediate future.
“Our industry will come back, but it will take some years to return to what it was just two months ago,” he said.
Boeing’s heavily taxpayer-subsidized North Charleston, S.C. facility currently employs an estimated 6,000 workers. Thousands more are employed by its suppliers – meaning these job losses are likely to ripple through the supply chain.
Compounding the bad news, Boeing’s announcement comes at a time when the Palmetto State – like the rest of the nation – is dealing with record-high unemployment.
Again, though, the news is not surprising giving the near-total collapse of commercial air travel. According to data from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), there were 264,843 travelers navigating security checkpoints yesterday compared to 2.45 million on the same day a year ago – a decline of 89.2 percent.
But as mentioned, Boeing was already facing headwinds.
Prior to the coronavirus, Boeing was already scaling back production of its 787 Dreamliner in response to reduced demand. Then there is the 737 Max fiasco – which resulted in air safety regulators around the world grounding Boeing’s newest passenger jet following two fatal crashes that left a combined 346 people dead.
In addition to problems with the 737 Max, Dreamliners have also come under scrutiny for various production issues – including problems emanating from the North Charleston plant.
This news outlet has been a staunch critic of Boeing over the years – and obviously we oppose crony capitalism on principle. As such, we have consistently opposed the $1 billion Palmetto State taxpayers have been forced to shell out to the company over the past decade.
(Including this particular bailout).
Having said that, as we noted in our coverage of the prior layoffs “we do not wish this sort of economic hardship on anymore … certainly not the workers impacted by this announcement.”
These are people’s lives …
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