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Boeing Workers Sent Layoff Notices

October 2, 1998

SEATTLE (AP) _ About 1,100 Boeing Co. workers were given 60-day layoff warning notices today, the first step toward cutting 28,000 jobs at the ailing aerospace giant by the end of next year.

At least three-fourths of those handed the notices, required under the 10-year-old Worker Adjustment, Retraining and Notification Act, are white-collar workers, and about two-thirds work in the Puget Sound region, said Peter Conte, a Boeing spokesman.

Each was notified individually by a manager and given a list of company and government sources of assistance, he said.

Another round of warnings will be issued two weeks before the separation date, Dec. 4, but by then many may be reassigned within Boeing, some may be able to stay because of attrition and others may take pre-retirement leaves of absence, Conte said.

Leaders of Boeing’s two largest unions said they expected few of their members would be affected.

At Machinists District Lodge 751, which represents hourly production workers around the Seattle area, spokeswoman Connie Kelliher said a few members were getting notices, ``but I would be surprised if any go out the door.″

The company previously announced plans to reduce total employment by 28,000 by the end of 1999 as production problems ease, work is consolidated and production of three jetliners in Long Beach, Calif., is discontinued.

Since March, when Boeing’s work force peaked at more than 238,000, employment has been reduced to about 235,000.

The last major workforce reduction at Boeing was a 12,000-person hit in the spring of 1995, accomplished mainly through attrition and an early retirement program that resulted in a $600 million writeoff before taxes.

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