How do you keep the world’s biggest factory open and producing planes as a health pandemic spans the globe?
The Boeing Company said it is doing the best it can to protect its workforce, as more people are testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Thursday, the company confirmed 11 cases at its massive Everett factory, two at the Renton factory, one at the Auburn facility that makes plane parts, one at the commercial headquarters at Long Acres, and two cases at a Colorado facility. That's a total of 17 cases at Boeing facilities.
Several Boeing workers have spoken to KING 5 anonymously about their concerns. While some said the company is doing a good job, by cleaning and providing new handwashing stations outside entry doors, others are expressing concerns.
“We’re told we can go home without pay, but that is simply not an option for some. We have guys coming in sneezing and coughing daily because they are scared to be sick, fearing being laid off," one worker wrote.
While some said the plant needs to stay open so workers can stay financially afloat, others wonder if a temporary closure with pay, similar to the Christmas shutdown during the last week of the year, should be considered here. The big three auto companies have shut down their factories.
Boeing said if you are diagnosed with coronavirus, or worked directly with someone sick, you will be paid for the duration of the quarantine.
Workers with virus concerns, but no direct connection to the virus, are allowed to take time off, either without pay or by using vacation or sick time. Non-union workers who receive PTO, or Paid Time Off, can also use unused or banked sick leave from prior years. Rules for banked sick leave have been loosened.