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Boeing Seeks 'Voluntary Layoffs'

Boeing FA-18 Super Hornet
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen G. Hale II | U.S. Navy
An F/A-18 Super Hornet from the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 launches from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Boeing, the maker of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, is now out of the running for a contract for the Indian air force.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security is looking to shed employees.

About 12,000 non-union employees based in the St. Louis area received emails Tuesday morning informing workers that it is seeking people for voluntary layoffs.

Not all of those workers will be eligible for a buyout and Boeing did not specify how many people they are hoping will take the deal.

The layoffs are targeted toward middle and senior managers and certain specialists, according to Boeing Communications Manager Forrest Gossett. 

Gossett said employees will have until mid-May to decide whether to apply. Those who choose to leave will be offered one week’s salary for each year of service, up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

The first wave of layoffs could occur in late July, Gossett said.

Here is the letter employees received:

Team: We are operating in the toughest business environment in a generation – and expect that to continue in 2014. In response, you've helped us achieve more than $3.8 billion in savings since 2010, allowing us to stay healthy and invest in our business. But there is more tough work ahead. BDS must identify $2.1 billion more in savings by 2016 to make the necessary cost reductions required to keep programs sold, win new business, and stay ahead of our competitors. One of the tools that will help us achieve those market-based affordability goals is a voluntary layoff program for our nonunion BDS population. Offered this year for the St. Louis region, this approach will improve our competitive position as we reshape our business. The VLO will be based on specific criteria for nonunion employees in levels 4 through 6; Quality and Product Support K level managers; and managers at levels L and M for targeted functions and job families. Eligibility for participation in the voluntary layoff program will be determined by your business unit or functional leadership, based on business needs. It will also help reduce the need for involuntary layoffs and directly responds to employees who have requested this option. On April 25, invitations to eligible employees will be sent. They will contain detailed information on how to apply for the program. Please remember that this program will not be offered to everyone. Indivdual business and organizational needs will dictate exactly who may participate as we work to meet market based affordability targets. You will receive an invitation to apply for the voluntary layoff if you are eligible, on April 25. If you have questions, please contact your immediate manager, your HR teams or submit a question to the St. Louis Voluntary Layof mailbox.

In response to a request for comment, Boeing provided the following statement:

“Boeing Defense, Space & Security today informed its St. Louis region-based employees of an opportunity for a limited voluntary layoff plan. This is an option employees have requested in the past and provides the enterprise with another means toward better affordability for the customers of our products in a highly-competitive marketplace. We are committed to work with our customers to ensure continued quality and performance during this transition as employees volunteer for layoff.”

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.