EVERETT, Wash. - Given the long history of Boeing intertwined into Western Washington, Boeing workers say they thought they could weather any storm.
Now that confidence is wavering in light of Boeing’s confirmation on Thursday that they are moving the 787 production line out of Everett.
The company says the work will be consolidated into their plant in South Carolina sometime by the middle of next year.
“It’s heartbreaking I think people are just hurt,” employee Brian Welk said.
The latest developments are deeply personal to Welk who says his wife and many of his friends also work for Boeing.
“We love this company, this is our culture, our family, we raise our kids here,” Welk said.
Workers and their families now anxiously have to wait to hear of the exact impacts or layoffs.
“I really wish concessions could have been made to keep the workforce here in Everett,” Welk said.
Another man at Boeing who didn’t want to be identified says his biggest question is why Boeing would leave a workforce he says with the most skilled and experienced mechanics.
Even before the pandemic, Boeing plunged into a crisis in 2019 after the grounding of their 737 Max planes. Two deadly crashes of that jetliner spurred mass scrutiny. The last thing workers say they needed was more bad news.
Boeing says they are trying to reposition in light of the current global market, aiming for long-term performance improvement. That’s hard to hear for people who helped give birth to the 787. Amid the major setback, there is one thing that has not changed for people like Welk.
A sense of family.
“For those of you around me, who work with me, who is facing this, you know we will get through this together,” Welk said.
SPEEA, the union that represents many workers say they are disappointed with the news and believes Boeing is making a mistake.