Boeing South Carolina workers to earn 18-day bonuses

Brad Nettles/Staff/File photo Boeing workers in North Charleston will receive bonuses equaling 18 days of pay on Feb. 27. Boeing assembles the 787 Dreamliner at its campus near Charleston International Airport. Buy this photo

Boeing South Carolina's workers will take home an extra 18 days of pay as their bonus this year.

Two days after the Chicago-based aerospace giant reported record revenue and earnings for 2013, the company announced Friday more than 5,000 workers at the North Charleston 787 Dreamliner assembly plant will pick up a performance-based bonus of about 6.9 percent of their eligible earnings, almost equal to last year's amount. Last February, local Boeing employees earned 17.95 days of extra pay.

Payments will go out Feb. 27.

The plant has more than 6,600 workers, but many of them are contract workers who don't qualify for the bonus, Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said.

Eligible employees who have worked at the Boeing site near Charleston International Airport for a full year during 2013 will receive the total bonus. Those hired during the year will collect a prorated share.

Boeing does not release the cumulative amount of the bonus payout, but it's expected to create millions of dollars in after-tax earnings that will ripple through the Charleston area economy.

The pay-for-performance plan in North Charleston is different from the employee incentive plan. Under that program, Boeing employees at other sites will receive bonuses equivalent to between 6.15 and 6.54 percent of the employees' eligible pay during 2013. For Machinists union members, the payout totals 4 percent of eligible pay and are in addition to the $10,000 bonus they recently received for voting on a contract extension through 2024 that guarantees production of the new 777X passenger jet in Washington state.

The payouts are believed to be among the highest ever.

Bonuses to Boeing employees in the Pacific Northwest, which has nearly 10 times the workers of North Charleston, are expected to pump more than $400 million into the region's economy, according to a Seattle Times analysis.

Boeing employees in South Carolina can receive between 12 and 24 days of pay for meeting or exceeding goals, Eslinger said.

Boeing is expected to launch a new incentive plan this year to entice employees to exceed production goals on the 787 Dreamliner. It will be very similar to road contracts that reward construction crews for completing a project ahead of time, according to a Boeing source familiar with the program.

The company recently rolled out its first 787 on the new 10-a-month, build-out schedule to meet the backlog demand for Boeing's newest passenger jet. The company will work toward building 12 787s a month in two years and 14 a month by 2019.

As of Jan. 24, Boeing had built 155 Dreamliners at its production plants in North Charleston and Everett, Wash., and delivered 115 to customers. More than 1,000 have been ordered by airlines worldwide.

On Wednesday, Boeing reported revenue climbed 6 percent to $86.6 billion during 2013 while earnings increased 18 percent to $4.6 billion.

The company projected a conservative outlook for 2014.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or

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