Boeing South Carolina offers extra bonus to meet 787 production goals
Boeing South Carolina is offering workers an additional bonus as it seeks to meet ramped-up production goals while reducing the amount of unfinished work on 787 parts it sends to Washington state.
The aerospace giant is offering more than 5,000 permanent workers in North Charleston rewards for meeting certain job targets in aft-body, mid-body and final assembly operations, Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said Friday.
The company's immediate goal is to assemble three 787 Dreamliners a month at its local campus by mid-summer.
As previously announced, local Boeing workers will already take home bonuses totaling 18 days of pay on Feb. 27, but that could be supplemented under the new incentive plan.
If factory floor workers who build the passenger jets meet production goals on or before April 30, they would take home 8 percent of their base pay for the previous 12 months.
Office workers, engineers, leaders and other white-collar employees would get a flat $2,500 under the extra performance-based incentive if they meet the goal.
If workers fall short and meet the goals by June 30, the bonus drops to 60 percent of what it would have been. After June 30, the offer is off the table.
"It's an extra incentive to get people focused on meeting our production goals," Eslinger said.
The bonus does not apply to the several hundred temporary or contract workers recently brought into the North Charleston operation as Boeing pushes to build 10 Dreamliners a month at its two assembly plants in North Charleston and Everett, Wash.
Boeing is trying to beef up its operations at its nonunionized South Carolina plant to keep from sending unfinished 787 fuselage sections to Washington state, where union workers have complained of added demands.
"We are offering our teammates this one-time productivity award in recognition of the progress that the site continues to make toward productivity goals," Eslinger said. "The South Carolina teammates will earn the productivity performance reward if the site makes certain specified internal targets over the next months in support of ongoing 787 production."
Eslinger added Boeing continues to meet its rate commitments and has a plan in place to improve productivity.
"While we do have challenges to address, we have applied additional resources and we expect to meet the program's commitments," she said.
The company doesn't normally share details on production operations or on employee compensation, but it's in an unusual situation of historically high production rates.
Boeing is rushing to catch up on a backlog of nearly 1,000 orders by airlines worldwide for the 787 Dreamliner. As of late January, Boeing had built 155 Dreamliners at the two assembly operations and delivered 115 to customers.
The company plans to speed up production even more in two years to 12 a month and by 2019 to 14 a month.
Boeing assembles the 787-8 in South Carolina and Washington state. The local plant also makes parts for the 787-9, a stretch version of the jet, and ships them to Everett. Starting this fall, the North Charleston operation will begin assembling the 787-9.
A decision on where the 787-10, the biggest version of the passenger plane, will be built should be made by March, according to company officials.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.