Boeing is moving an estimated 250 C-17-related jobs in management, engineering, supply chain, finance and contracts from Long Beach to other regions of the country.
The shift, the company said, is aimed at bringing the operations closer to Boeing suppliers and customers and “creating a synergy with other Boeing locations.”
Lynette McKinnon, an executive at Boeing, wrote in an Aug. 29 memo to employees that the positions would be moved to a variety of cities, including San Antonio and Dallas, Texas, Mesa, Arizona, Oklahoma City, Warner Robbins, Georgia, and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
The relocation will be conducted in phases, McKinnon wrote, beginning in the third quarter of 2023 and running through early 2025.
About 450 C-17 workers associated with the design, development, procurement and delivery of the aircraft’s flight deck modernization program will remain in Long Beach.
“We’re trying to benefit not only Boeing but our employees as well,” Boeing Global Services spokesman Barry Edwards said. “From our comprehensive analysis, we have assessed how strategic workplaces can be mapped with the C-17 strategy, as well as where critical skills could best be matched to our business needs.”
The McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas, which later merged with Boeing. It’s commonly used to move troops and cargo throughout the world and has also aided in medical evacuations and air-drop operations.
The C-17 played a key logistical role during both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. It was also used in providing humanitarian aid in the aftermath of various natural disasters, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the recent 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake.
The first C-17 performed its maiden flight on Sept. 15, 1991, but development of the planes was hindered by a series of design issues leading to a loss of nearly $1.5 billion. The C-17 is no longer in production, although Boeing still supports the aircraft.
“We still overhaul and repair them, and we have suppliers all over the world,” said a Boeing manager who works on the C-17 program in Long Beach. “There are 275 C-17s still in use, including 222 in the U.S. and 53 that are stationed at foreign military bases.”
The worker, who declined to give her name for fear of losing severance benefits, said her division is being shifted to Warner Robbins on Jan. 21. She doesn’t plan to move and hopes to secure another job with Boeing in Long Beach.
“If nothing pans out, I can always pull money from my 401(k) to live on,” said the employee, who earns $100,000 a year.
Boeing is offering a week of severance pay for every year an employee has worked up to a maximum of 26 weeks.
“I’d get six weeks,” the employee said. “I’m just feeling sad and heartbroken. I love my job and what we do to support our troops.”
Workers who decline to relocate and are laid off may be eligible to participate in the company’s layoff benefit plan, Boeing said, adding they also may be eligible for COBRA health care coverage “for a period of time” as well as career transition support.
Boeing employs about 2,000 workers at its Long Beach facility. The company produces more than 20 military aircraft, as well as addition planes earmarked for commercial use.
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