Boeing workers catch up on 787 backlog, get bonuses

By Liz Segrist
Published May 13, 2014

Boeing South Carolina workers in North Charleston will receive a one-time bonus for reaching 787 Dreamliner production goals in an effort to fill a backlog of unfinished work.

Local workers can expect the bonuses within 30 days, Boeing South Carolina spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said in an email.

Boeing South Carolina workers assemble 787 Dreamliners in the North Charleston facility. (Photo by Kim McManus)
Boeing South Carolina workers assemble 787 Dreamliners in the North Charleston facility. (Photo by Kim McManus)

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Office workers and engineers will receive a $2,500 bonus, and factory floor workers will receive 8% of their base pay for the past 12 months as a bonus, according to Eslinger, as first reported by The Post and Courier.

Boeing South Carolina teammates have reduced jobs behind schedule across the site by more than 72% and sped up assembly operations, Eslinger said.

“And this puts aft, midbody and final assembly operations in both Everett and South Carolina into a better position for a smoother, more efficient, more stable production flow, which was our ultimate goal,” Eslinger said.

In January, Boeing dangled bonuses in front of workers as an incentive to catch up on work on the 787 Dreamliner by April 28. The workers had to sustain those production levels for an additional 10 days after the deadline to receive the bonuses, referred to as Productivity Performance Awards.

Boeing South Carolina fell behind on production rate goals earlier this year. To speed up the process, local operations would move midbody work not completed by the deadline to final assembly in either North Charleston or Everett, Wash., to finish the work there and remain on schedule. Boeing refers to this as “traveled work.”

Boeing South Carolina Vice President Jack Jones anticipated that traveled work would taper off by this time, as the Chicago-based aerospace company hired an unspecified number of contract workers in North Charleston, as well as offered the one-time bonus to workers if production goals were met.

“We’re proud of how far our … team has come in making production improvements, which will positively impact Everett and S.C. 787 final assembly and customer deliveries,” Eslinger said.

By mid-2014, Boeing South Carolina expects to produce three 787s for every 10 planes built per month.

Between North Charleston and Everett, Wash., operations, 10 Dreamliners are built per month. These rates will increase to 12 airplanes a month by 2016 and up to 14 a month by 2019.

During the first quarter, Boeing delivered 18 Dreamliners compared with one delivery in the first quarter of 2013.

Reach staff writer Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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