Boeing gets 1,500 machinists to take voluntary layoffs

By By Alwyn ScottFeaturesReuters

Boeing Co has accepted slightly more than 1,500 voluntary layoffs from its machinists in the Seattle area, the union said on Thursday, part of the jet maker's drive to cut costs through job reductions and other measures.

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The reductions had been announced last year and workers had until Feb. 1 to apply.

"These are all voluntary, where people planned to retire or had other plans," said Connie Kelliher, a spokeswoman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751.

Boeing offered the buyouts to workers last year as part of an 8 percent workforce reduction at its commercial airplane business. The unit had about 74,600 workers at the end of February. Boeing said in December it would cut an as-yet-undetermined number of jobs in 2017.

The company has about 30,000 unionized machinist in Washington state.

Boeing has said its reductions would come through voluntary layoffs, retirements and in some cases involuntary layoffs. But no machinists have had involuntary layoffs for several years, Kelliher said.

Boeing's shares were down 0.07 percent at $183.78 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in Seattle and Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)