(Adds details about production improvements)
By Harriet McLeod
NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina, May 12 (Reuters) -
E mployees at Boeing's 787 manufacturing plant in South Carolina
have reduced behind-schedule aircraft work by nearly
three-quarters, stabilizing production and earning a one-time
bonus, Boeing said on Monday.
Workers at the plant in North Charleston who assemble the
787 and make fuselage sections have achieved a greater than 72
percent reduction in so-called "jobs behind schedule" and have
significantly increased the assembly of the fuselage sections
and aircraft the factory produces, it said.
"This puts aft, mid-body and final assembly operations in
both Everett (Washington) and South Carolina into a better
position for a smoother, more efficient, more stable production
flow, which was our ultimate goal," said Candy Eslinger, a
The company aims to entirely eliminate "traveled work" -
jobs moved to another work station or factory from where they
are supposed to be done - but has not achieved that so far.
The details suggest the world's biggest plane maker is
getting past problems that snarled production earlier this year.
Production of the mid-body fuselage of the 787 at the plant
lagged last year after the layoffs of hundreds of contract
workers were followed by a ramp-up in production rates.
Last fall, Boeing began hiring and training hundreds of new
contract workers to make up the backlog and reduce the work that
had to travel to the company's Everett, Washington, final
In January, it set up the bonus program. Boeing has
increased 787 production to 10 a month from seven, a milestone
achieved with the rollout of the first aircraft built at that
rate in January. That jet came from the Everett factory.
Eslinger said Boeing had a plan for sustaining the
production rates and maintaining an efficient, stable production
The first step in the plan is to have stable production at
the full rate of 10 a month.
"We're right (on) track by meeting these (bonus) goals," she
said. "The next phases will include a gradual reduction in
contract labor over time."
The bonus amounts to 8 percent of base pay for the previous
12 months for assemblers, or factory floor workers, according to
The (Charleston) Post and Courier newspaper. Office workers will
receive a flat $2,500, the paper reported. The bonus is paid
only to Boeing direct employees, not contractors, Eslinger
(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Alwyn Scott, Leslie
Adler and Andre Grenon)