Boeing has been shedding jobs for five straight years in the Puget Sound region, but this year the cuts seem to have gone too far.
Now, the jetmaker finds it’s short of people and is scrambling to entice some 500 to 800 retirees back on a temporary basis.
And to abide by union agreements, workers who have been laid off in the required job classifications will have to be hired back ahead of any retirees returning to the same jobs.
It’s unclear if this could be a definitive turn in the downsizing tide that began to swell in the fall of 2012 and has since then swept away 20,400 Boeing jobs in the state.
The company signed an agreement with the Machinists union on Friday setting the terms by which it can hire back retirees on a temporary basis for up to six months.
To lure the retired Machinists back to work, Boeing is taking the unusual step of paying bonuses.
Jon Holden, International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751 president, said the company approached the union asking for help in hiring people back right away to help with immediate needs.
The retirees will begin returning to the factory floor as early as this Friday.
“I cannot explain the decisions they make as to why they cut so deep and now they are in a rush to hire people back,” said Holden.
Boeing is also talking to the engineering union about bringing back some of its former members on a contract basis. (end of excerpt)
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