Boeing has approved buyouts for more than 1,800 union workers, marking the start of a new round of job reductions that’s expected to continue through the year.
The voluntary layoffs include 1,500 machinists and 305 engineers, representatives of the workers’ unions told GeekWire today. Boeing Commercial Airplanes is reducing non-union positions as well, but the company isn’t providing numbers for those classifications.
The company said in December that it would have to continue last year’s downward trend in employment to stay competitive with Airbus, its European aerospace rival.
Last year’s job reductions amounted to about 8 percent of the workforce in Boeing’s commercial airplane division, going from roughly 82,500 to a little more than 76,000 employees by the end of 2016. The reductions were achieved through voluntary and involuntary layoffs as well as attrition.