Boeing will stop paying about 30,000 production workers this week in Washington state after it previously doubled to 10 days the amount of paid leave it gave to production workers after the suspension. Employees can use paid time off, vacation and sick leave in the interim and will continue to get medical benefits.
Boeing said on Sunday about 135 members of its 160,000-person global workforce had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Seattle Times reported that as of Friday, Boeing had 95 employees who tested positive for the respiratory disease in Washington state, up from 54 a week earlier. The newspaper said 14 of those work at the Everett widebody jet plant.
During the suspension, Boeing will implement additional health and safety measures, including “new visual cues to encourage physical distancing,” more frequent cleaning of work and common areas and staggered shift times.
“We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community and the reliability of our suppliers,” said Boeing commercial airplanes chief executive Stan Deal.
Boeing’s airline customers have deferred taking new aircraft and making pre-delivery downpayments, compounding a crisis over the year-old grounding of Boeing’s previously fast-selling 737 MAX jet after two fatal crashes. Boeing halted 737 production in January.
Boeing asked last month for at least $60 billion in US government loan guarantees for itself and other American aerospace manufacturers to help the embattled industry withstand a coronavirus-related cash drain.
Boeing said last week it would suspend operations at its Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, facilities until 20 April because of the outbreak. The site includes manufacturing and production facilities for military rotorcraft, including the H-47 Chinook, V-22 Osprey and MH-139A Grey Wolf.