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Mon, Mar 14, 2005

Boeing Lays Off 9,300 In Kansas, Oklahoma

And Then There's That Waiver...

Making room for Onex to take over its commercial plants in Wichita, KS, and Tulsa and McAlester, OK, Boeing is laying off 9,300 people. The company also demands workers sign a waiver allowing Boeing to release personnel records to the new owners.

The move wasn't completely unexpected, said workers, but that doesn't ease the anxiety rippling through all three facilities.

"The reality sets in today," said Bob Brewer, Midwest director for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. He was quoted by the venerable Wichita Eagle. "That's got to set people back on their heels."

The information Onex wants under that waiver includes names, social security numbers, job titles and wage rates. Onex Managing Director Nigel Wright said employees who didn't sign the waiver could re-apply for their jobs in another way, but the waiver made clear not signing it could mean the plants' new owners won't make a re-hiring offer.

Still, "It will make it much easier for us to communicate with them and plan for them," Wright said of the waivers. Although Wright said the information collection wouldn't include disciplinary records, union leaders complained the wording on the waiver form was vague on just what Boeing would turn over to Onex.

"There's tension," Boeing designer Jack Patton of the atmosphere at the plant told the Eagle. If you don't fill out the waiver, "you probably won't be offered a position," he said.

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.onex.com

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