On Friday, Boeing announced plans to transfer 300 engineering jobs from Washington state to nonunion locations in Long Beach, California and North Charleston, South Carolina.
The aeronautics giant also says it is considering opening a new design facility in Kiev, Ukraine to support its Moscow operations, which employ 1,200 workers.
“It doesn’t mean the sky is failing,” Gov. Jay Inslee’s aerospace chief Alex Pietsch told the Seattle Times. “They are not leaving. They are just diversifying. It’s the nature of the industry and the way things seem to be going.”
Boeing’s decision to shift work to the nonunion South Carolina location comes on the heels of its April announcement that it would make a $1 billion investment in its South Carolina operations.
Last week, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Courier of Charleston obtained an email sent to South Carolina Boeing workers from general plant manager Jack Jones that encouraged them not to unionize.
“I want to be clear that it’s Boeing’s desire to remain union-free in South Carolina so we can keep the open culture of collaboration between teammates that we’re all working hard to build,” Jones wrote. “I firmly believe a union is not in your best interest, nor is it in the best interest of our company, our BSC site, our customers, nor our community.”
Boeing employs over 170,000 workers worldwide.