Boe­ing to tem­po­rar­ily shut fac­to­ries in Wash. state

The Kansas City Star - - News - New York Times

Boe­ing an­nounced Mon­day that it will tem­po­rar­ily shut down its op­er­a­tions in Wash­ing­ton state, where the com­pany has two ma­jor fac­to­ries and sev­eral smaller sites, in an ef­fort to slow the spread of the coron­avirus among its tens of thou­sands of em­ploy­ees in the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to three peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

The fac­to­ries will close for two weeks, and all of the 70,000 em­ploy­ees will con­tinue to re­ceive pay­checks dur­ing that time, ac­cord­ing to two of the peo­ple, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss in­ter­nal de­ci­sions. Boe­ing is in con­tact with the Pen­tagon to de­ter­mine how to han­dle its work on the KC-46 tanker and P-8 mil­i­tary air­craft, are made in the Wash­ing­ton fac­to­ries.

For now, com­pany’s other ma­jor pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, in Mis­souri, South Carolina, Ari­zona and Penn­syl­va­nia, will re­main open.

Last week, the com­pany in­structed all em­ploy­ees to telecom­mute if they could but stopped short of sus­pend­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing be­cause it is dif­fi­cult to ramp up pro­duc­tion after an assem­bly line has been halted.

More than 30 Boe­ing em­ploy­ees have tested pos­i­tive for the coron­avirus, with the ma­jor­ity in Wash­ing­ton state, the com­pany said. Nearly 2,000 work­ers have been sent home to re­main in iso­la­tion after pos­si­ble ex­po­sure.

Boe­ing work­ers in Wash­ing­ton have been com­plain­ing about the con­di­tions on the fac­tory floors, where em­ploy­ees of­ten work in close prox­im­ity and clean­ing sup­plies are scarce, ac­cord­ing to three cur­rent em­ploy­ees who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity. A pe­ti­tion to shut down a plant in Everett, the com­pany’s largest fa­cil­ity, has re­ceived more than 8,200 sig­na­tures.

“There are peo­ple who leave that cam­pus and go all over the state of Wash­ing­ton. They all go back to their com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies pos­si­bly sick,” Crissy Stip­kovich, who cre­ated the pe­ti­tion, said in an in­ter­view. Stip­kovich does not work for Boe­ing but has fam­ily mem­bers and friends who work at the fac­tory. “It is a hot­bed for in­fec­tion right now, and the em­ploy­ees are not be­ing pro­tected.”

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