Boeing to shift some defense work out of Washington state: sources

Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:51pm EDT
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By Andrea Shalal and Alwyn Scott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) on Monday said it would move the majority of its defense services and support work out of Washington state to other U.S. cities, affecting the jobs of about 2,000 of its 5,200 defense employees in the Puget Sound region.

The changes, first reported by Reuters earlier Monday, are part of ongoing efforts by Boeing to streamline its defense business, and will not affect its P-8A spy plane or KC-46 aerial refueling tanker programs. Both of those programs are based on commercial jetliners made in the area.

Boeing said the transition could take three years to complete and that it would shift as many affected workers as possible to the company's growing commercial jetliner operations.

Chris Chadwick, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said the decision was difficult but necessary to improve the company's competitiveness.

"This is necessary if we are going to differentiate ourselves from competitors and stay ahead of a rapidly changing global defense environment," Chadwick said.

Union officials said the company has scheduled meetings with defense workers at key sites in the Puget Sound region on Tuesday and that managers and workers expect the company to announce work will be transferred to other parts of the country.

Boeing said most of the work would be relocated to Oklahoma City and St. Louis, where similar activities are done today, with a smaller share of the work to go to Jacksonville, Florida, and Patuxent River, Maryland.

In all, Oklahoma City could add about 900 jobs, while St. Louis could add 500 jobs, the company said.   Continued...

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young