Boeing moving more jobs out of area; state lawmaker wants to help stem flow

OLYMPIA -- State Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler expressed concern Thursday at news the Boeing Co. intends to move as many as 375 more engineering jobs from the Puget Sound to California.

Boeing management told employees earlier Thursday that engineering work on modifying jets for customers and converting aging passenger jets to freighters will move from Bellevue and Everett to Long Beach, Calif., according to the Seattle Times.

The newspaper said about 375 engineers now do that work locally, but a Boeing spokesman said it’s not clear how many of those jobs will be affected.

Boeing announced in May that as many as 300 other kinds of engineering jobs would be moved from Tukwila to Long Beach, Calif.

With 19,289 Boeing workers, California still has the most Boeing employees of any state other than Washington, where it was founded.

"Boeing’s leaders have made it increasingly clear that if our state's business climate doesn't improve, we can expect more headlines of this type,” Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said. “Between that and the other clues we’ve seen lately I’ve got to believe Boeing has concluded it will run into fewer labor disputes in California.

“One would hope the governor knows the reason behind today’s disappointing news – if it isn’t related to labor contracts, and has to do instead with something the Legislature can address, he should convey that to those of us who are in a position to respond.

"If you want to talk about family-wage jobs, engineering positions at Boeing – which in our state carry average annual salaries of more than $100,000 – are exactly what's on the line. We live in an increasingly global and competitive world; other states and countries know how valuable the industry is and that's why they're taking steps to try to lure Boeing away from our state," Schoesler said.

"Standing by and allowing these sorts of jobs to move away should not be an option. I remain ready to work with the governor and elected officials at all levels, from both sides of the aisle, to make sure Washington is a place where employers want to do business," he added.