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Boeing laying off over 6,700 in US with 'several thousand' more planned

Boeing laying off over 6,700 in US with 'several thousand' more planned
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Boeing announced Wednesday that it would lay off 6,770 workers across its U.S. facilities as the company struggles with financial woes brought on by the coronavirus outbreak and the company's troubled 737 Max planes.

A letter to employees from CEO David Calhoun indicated that the company would provide severance pay and fund COBRA health care coverage to those affected by the layoffs, which come at the end of a period of voluntary contract buyouts and layoffs Boeing officials announced earlier this year.

"The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the airline industry means a deep cut in the number of commercial jets and services our customers will need over the next few years, which in turn means fewer jobs on our lines and in our offices. We have done our very best to project the needs of our commercial airline customers over the next several years as they begin their path to recovery," Calhoun said, adding: "I wish there were some other way."

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"We’re notifying the first 6,770 of our U.S. team members this week that they will be affected. We will provide all the support we can to those of you impacted by the [layoffs] — including severance pay, COBRA health care coverage for U.S. employees and career transition services," Calhoun continued.

Boeing officials also said that they planned “several thousand remaining layoffs” in the coming months, Reuters reported.

The company's decision to shed thousands of jobs through involuntary layoffs comes as Boeing officials reported that 5,520 employees accepted voluntary layoffs and are set to leave the company in the coming weeks.

"It will take some time for the company to reduce our workforce by the approximately 10 percent we announced, but today’s numbers represent the largest segment of layoffs. The several thousand remaining layoffs will come in additional tranches over the next few months," said a Boeing spokesperson in an email to The Hill.

"While the deeper reductions are in areas that are most exposed to the condition of our commercial customers, the ongoing stability of our defense, space and related services businesses will help us limit overall impact, and we will continue hiring talent to support critical programs and meet our customers evolving needs," the spokesperson added.

The company first announced the layoffs in late April following first quarter losses of $641 million and was forced to take a nearly $14 billion loan from several banks earlier this year.