March 28 Boeing Co said it plans to
eliminate a group of pilot training and standards positions as
part of a broader effort to relocate flight training to Miami
from Seattle that has drawn criticism from the union.
Boeing said the positions of 35 simulator instructors and
five standards pilots are being eliminated. It said it informed
the union of the change during contract talks on Thursday.
The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in
Aerospace (SPEEA), which represents the pilots, said eliminating
the positions could weaken Boeing's oversight of pilot training
standards, particularly if the replacement workers are
contractors who are not full-time Boeing pilots.
Boeing disagreed, saying Boeing pilots and instructors have
the same qualifications as full-time Boeing pilots.
"Any pilots dispatched to train or fly with our customers
are of the same high quality, receive the same training and
ongoing courses and meet the same standards and qualifications
-- regardless of whether they are full time or contractor,"
Simulator instructors teach pilots to fly using
sophisticated, full-motion flight simulators equipped with full
Flight standards pilots oversee the pilot evaluations that
are done on the simulators and make sure the training meets
Boeing gave no indication of when the positions would be
eliminated, though it said it is moving the 10 flight simulators
used by these workers to Miami throughout the year.
"At this time we do not have open positions for those
classifications at the flight services training campus in
Miami," Boeing spokesman Jim Condelles said in a statement
responding to questions from Reuters. "We are committed to do
whatever we can to find equivalent positions either in the Puget
Sound area or elsewhere at Boeing."