LB to take brunt of Boeing’s C-17 workforce reduction

As part of a transition announced last year, Boeing confirmed Thursday that it will deliver 13 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters in 2011 as the company moves to a new production rate of 10 C-17s per year. Boeing will reduce the production program’s workforce by approximately 1,100 jobs through the end of 2012. The company delivered 14 C-17s in 2010.
The move to the new production rate, announced in February 2010, will be completed this summer and result in the elimination of the second shift at the C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach. The lower production rate is designed to extend the line as Boeing works to capture additional international orders.
“This has been a very difficult decision, no question about it,” said Bob Ciesla, C-17 program manager. “But reducing the number of C-17s we deliver every year, and doing that with a smaller workforce, will allow us to keep the production line open beyond 2012, protect jobs, and give potential customers more time to finalize their airlift requirements.”
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said the C-17 program is an important economic asset for the state, the region, and the city. “While Boeing’s announcement [Thursday] is difficult and disconcerting, it is not entirely unexpected, as the federal government has decreased orders for this workhorse aircraft,” Foster said. “Our rich history of aerospace manufacturing makes this an emotional day for Long Beach, as the C-17 plant is the last of what was previously a robust aerospace manufacturing industry in California.”
Ciesla indicated that Boeing will provide assistance for impacted workers seeking potential positions elsewhere within the company. “We’ve been communicating frequently with our employees about this process for the past year and will continue to do so,” he said.
Foster also expressed support for those impacted by the job cuts. “We will continue our efforts to support Boeing in generating additional orders to preserve the thousands of jobs that remain, and our Workforce Investment Board will commit resources to assist affected employees during this difficult period,” he said. 
Boeing anticipates that the workforce reduction will primarily impact Long Beach, where approximately 900 of the 1,100 reductions will take place at the program’s final assembly site. The remaining 200 reductions will impact C-17 production program employees in Macon, Ga., Mesa, Ariz., and St. Louis. The company will try to redeploy many of the affected employees to other programs or other Boeing locations where the company has suitable job openings.

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