A worker at Boeing’s Everett plant has died after becoming infected with the novel coronavirus. The death is the first recorded among Boeing’s employees, and comes as the first worker at their South Carolina plant tests positive for COVID-19.
Boeing worker dies from COVID-19 infection
A Boeing employee who had tested positive for COVID-19 has sadly died. The person, who has not yet been officially named out of respect for his family, was working on the 787 Dreamliner production facility in Everett, Washington.
The employee is reported by the Seattle Times to be involved in overseeing unfinished work on aircraft that had moved from the factory to the flight line. He was also noted to be a shop steward and a member of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) workers union.
He had been in intensive care since last week, and on Saturday his brother posted a plea on Facebook for Boeing to close to stop the spread of the virus. In the post, his brother said,
“Boeing (sp) Everett plant please close your doors and shut down please my brother Elton Washington has worked at 27 years, he is on life-support please shut down now.”
Sadly, last night, this was followed up by a further post noting that the worker had passed away.
A subsequent post made just hours ago again called upon Boeing to close, saying,
“Please Seattle pacific northwest I’m in Vegas will you please make Boeing shut it down close their doors Everett plant my brother Elton Washington has died from working at Boeing plant The virus is there in Everett How can they value money over my brother’s life, I know beautiful Seattle do something please please I’m begging.”
The Boeing company told the New York Times it was aware of the social media posts and was seeking to verify the situation.
Another worker tests positive at Boeing
Just this morning, another Boeing employee has tested positive for COVID-19, as reported by Live 5 News. This time, the affected employee worked at the Charleston, South Carolina plant, and has become the first to test positive at this location so far.
Spokesperson Libba Holland made a statement to Live 5, saying that the worker was now in quarantine and getting the necessary treatments for their recovery. She went on to say,
“We have notified our teammates, are conducting thorough cleaning of the work areas and common spaces, and are following the advice of public health officials.”
Coworkers of the affected worker have been asked to self-isolate.
Should Boeing close?
As reported in the Seattle Times, a total of 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded among Boeing employees company-wide. Of these, 24 were in the Puget Sound area and five were out of state. In total, these are made up of 17 in Everett, five in Renton, one in Auburn and one at the HQ in Longacres.
Currently, some Boeing workers have called on Boeing to close its factories, and many have chosen to stay home without salary. For some, however, the paycheck is vital to their families and, as such, they have carried on working. It is for this reason that so far the union has stood back from calling for a shutdown.
What do you think? Should Boeing close its factories in light of the current situation, or should workers willing to continue be allowed to earn the money they need? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.