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Boeing Paint Firm to Close Plant, Dismiss 200

Thursday, December 8, 2016

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A painting subcontractor providing services to The Boeing Company will lay off nearly 200 workers early next year when its contract with the multinational aerospace corporation expires.

Portland, OR-based Commercial Aircraft Painting Services announced Monday (Dec. 5) that 186 workers would be terminated because Boeing did not renew what it calls the Everett Offload Paint Contract with CAPS, the Portland Business Journal reported.

Although the dismissals are considered permanent, CAPS suggested “a number of” its affected employees might be able to find work with the Chicago-based corporation’s new contractor.

Boeing corporate headquarters
The Boeing Company

Because the Boeing Company and painting subcontractor Commercial Aircraft Painting Services were unable to come to agreement on a new contract, CAPS will close its Portland facility and dismiss 186 employees.

The layoffs are slated to take place over the month of February, with 147 union-represented employees being let go on Jan. 31 and 27 management employees to be dismissed no later than Feb. 28 according to Northwest Labor Press.

Contract Not Renewed

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder told the Business Journal that it enjoyed a “good working relationship” with CAPS over the past five years, but the contract had expired earlier in the year.

"A series of extensions were put in place, but we were unable to reach agreement on a long-term contract,” Alder explained.

The extended contract was set to expire Jan. 31, Northwest Labor Press stated.

“To meet our customer commitments and affordability targets, it became necessary to compete the contract through an open bidding process," Alder added.

CAPS’ contract reportedly covered the painting of new Boeing planes after assembly in Everett, WA, and before delivery to customers. Boeing staff oversaw its work, and the aircraft hangars where painting took place were leased by Boeing from the Port of Portland, Northwest Labor Press explained.

With loss of the contract, CAPS announced it is conducting a "plant closing" of its Boeing Paint Hangar facility according to the terms of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which protects workers by requiring employers to provide 60 days’ notice in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.

Painting services for Boeing aircraft will still be conducted at the Portland hangars, reports said, but under the direction of the new contractor as of Feb. 1.

New Paint Services Contracted

Boeing indicated it has now contracted with STTS Group, an aircraft painting company headquartered in Blagnac, France. STTS is a subsidiary of the Finaero group of companies, which has companies that provide a range of painting and sealing products and services to the aerospace and rail industries.

STTS aircraft paint
By Duch.seb / CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Boeing has since contracted with STTS Group, an aircraft painting company based in Blagnac, France, which provides services such as aircraft painting and sealing, parts painting and sealing, and surface treatment. Shown here is the Aero Spacelines Super Guppy F-BPPA, refurbished by Old Wings of Toulouse and repainted by STTS.

STTS business units include aircraft painting and sealing, parts painting and sealing, and surface treatment. It has operations at 50 sites, including 12 paint hangars, and employs a staff of 1,250 across Europe, Asia and the Middle East; this would reportedly be its first operation in North America.

Boeing described the firm as "an established, global aerospace supplier that was able to meet or exceed the qualifications outlined in the Boeing RFP."

Alder told the Business Journal Boeing would work with CAPS management in an effort to retain employees from its workforce and planned hiring fairs to assist the workers in finding " opportunities for continued employment."

Likewise, Finaero and STTS President Christophe Cador reportedly issued a Dec. 1 letter notifying CAPS management and staff that its top priority over the next two months would be recruiting its U.S. workforce.

“We need to meet with CAPS management over the next few days to agree appropriate protocols but we would like to give you, the staff, a more comprehensive presentation of the STTS Group, our implementation plan for launching in Portland and our employment offer, in the hope that some of you will want to join STTS USA Inc, or indeed any of our subsidiaries around the world,” Cador wrote.

If more than half of current CAPS employees are hired by STTS, federal law obligates the company to recognize their existing union, Northwest Labor Press reported.

CAPS personnel had only voted on July 8 to unionize with Machinists District Lodge W24, and were in the process of negotiating a first union contract, it said.


Tagged categories: Aerospace; Business operations; Contractors; Contracts; Labor; Layoffs; Paint application; Personnel; Subcontractors; Unions

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