Boeing’s largest plant in ‘panic mode’ amid safety crisis, say workers and union officials | Boeing

Boeing’s largest factory is in “panic mode”, according to workers and union officials, with managers accused of hounding staff to keep quiet over quality concerns.

The US plane maker has been grappling with a safety crisis sparked by a cabin panel blowout during a flight in January, and intense scrutiny of its production line as regulators launched a string of investigations.

Its site at Everett, Washington – hailed as the world’s biggest manufacturing building – is at the heart of Boeing’s operation, responsible for building planes like the 747 and 767, and fixing the 787 Dreamliner.

One mechanic at the complex, who has worked for Boeing for more than three decades, has claimed it is “full of” faulty 787 jets that need fixing.

Many of these jets are flown from Boeing’s site in South Carolina, where the company shifted final assembly of the 787 in 2021 in what was characterized as a cost-cutting measure.

“There is no way in God’s green earth I would want to be a pilot in South Carolina flying those from South Carolina to here,” the mechanic, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, told the Guardian. “Because when they get in here, we’re stripping them apart.”

Managers at Everett “will hound mechanics” to keep quiet about quality-assurance concerns and potential repairs, the mechanic alleged, emphasizing speed and efficiency over safety. He added: “Boeing has to look in the mirror and say: ‘We’re wrong.’”

Boeing did not comment on claims that staff have been pressured not to raise concerns about quality. Work at Everett on 787 jets is taking place as part of an established verification program, it said.

The company met this week with US regulators to discuss how it plans to address quality-control issues. Executives have recently described how workers have been emboldened to speak up since January, with submissions to an internal portal for safety and quality concerns up 500%.

Earlier this year, a panel of experts, which was appointed by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people, described a “disconnect” between Boeing’s leadership and workforce on safety, and made 53 recommendations to help resolve its concerns.

After January’s blowout,

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