If you see Boeing South Carolina workers smiling a little brighter, it's because they finally received bonuses for catch-up work at the North Charleston factory's Dreamliner assembly line.
Workers met and maintained production goals in early May, qualifying many of the nearly 7,500 factory floor workers at the sprawling plant for rewards equaling 8 percent of their base pay for the previous 12 months. Office workers, engineers and other white-collar employees received a flat $2,500 bonus.
Eligible employees on Thursday received the payouts, called productivity performance awards by Boeing, company spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said. Workers were also treated with lunch.
Boeing offered the bonuses to South Carolina workers earlier this year after production work fell behind on the aft- and mid-body sections of the Dreamliner.
Less-seasoned workers tried to meet new demands of building three jets per month in North Charleston and making parts for the 787-9, a new version of the twin-aisle passenger carrier. The company decided last year to let its more experienced contract workers go at the fledgling airplane-manufacturing site, further contributing to production problems. It later brought many of them back to get production back on track.
Contract workers did not qualify for the incentive payout. The company does not break down the actual number of permanent and contract workers. More than 5,000 permanent Boeing employees took home the bonuses.
The latest payouts are in addition to one handed out earlier this year, giving Boeing South Carolina workers an annual bonus equal to 18 days of pay.
Boeing makes parts for and assembles the 787 Dreamliner in North Charleston. The Chicago-based company is building 10 of the passenger jets a month between North Charleston and Everett, where the planes are also assembled. Locally, the goal is to make three a month by mid-summer.
The plant will begin full assembly on the 787-9 in the fall. A decision on the production site for the largest model, the 787-10, is expected this year.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.