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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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December 8, 2009

Pfizer's Pearl River Layoffs

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Posted by Derek

Pfizer's rounds of layoffs after the Wyeth merger are continuing, and look to go on for some time. A reader in New York state sends along word that there's been some controversy over the cuts at the Pearl River site. New York law requires a company to give both the state (and employees) 90 days notice if it lays off more than a set number or percentage of its staff. Pfizer's definitely over both limits, but according to the local newspaper (the Times Herald-Record), employees were told that the law didn't apply to them.

One Pearl River employee, whose identity was confirmed by the Times Herald-Record and who was granted anonymity, said company representatives told the laid-off employees the WARN law didn't apply to them. That source expressed concern that Pfizer was intentionally laying off small pockets of people to skirt WARN.

Now the paper (taking credit for the change) reports that Pfizer has indeed filed with the state that 200 employees will be let go in March. The paper has heard that a total of about 600 people will be laid off, although there are no state papers filed to cover that number yet.

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets | The Dark Side


1. Former Wyeth on December 8, 2009 10:04 AM writes...

Back in November we were told WARN wouldn't apply, but after review they decided that it would apply in PR and Princeton. WARN letters started going out last month, in some cases by email. It's a very dismal time to be looking for a job right now.

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2. Hap on December 8, 2009 6:55 PM writes...

You know, this goes real well with Kindler's push for corporate respect and responsibility. If you want to be trusted that you're not hosing your customers, circumventing the law when it is inconvenient for you and simultaneously screwing your employees (who ought to be less expendable and more valuable to you than your customers) isn't going to help. (I understand that without customers, you have nothing, but a single employee can do a whole lot more damage to your company than a single customer. To paraphrase, you have to be trusted by the people you lie to, after all.)

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3. Thomas McEntee on December 8, 2009 9:22 PM writes...

C&EN had a blurb in the most recent issue about Pfizer in China. I think they're talking in terms of having ultimately 550 R&D people in Beijing plus one other Chinese city. That's almost equivalent to the purported eventual loss of 600 positions. BTW, WuXi had one of the two industrial ads in that issue.

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4. Chemjobber on December 8, 2009 11:35 PM writes...

That WuXi ad might as well have been written entirely in Chinese; the tagline at the bottom of the ad ("WE ARE DETERMINED TO SERVE YOU BETTER") was kind of odd, too.

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5. milkshake on December 8, 2009 11:44 PM writes...

No, they are really that shortsighted - they can get hit by a class-action lawsuit for the unpaid severance, by the ex-employees. It would not be the first time that this has happened to Pfizer.

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6. Thomas McEntee on December 9, 2009 7:06 AM writes...

Correction to my comment (#3): C&EN reported in the 30 Nov issue that Pfizer has 350 people in Shanghai and has signed a MOU to build an R&D center in Wuhan that will employ 200.

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7. Mr AtoZ on December 9, 2009 9:54 AM writes...

What gets me more than anything is the American consumer.  How on earth can they sit back and buy stuff from countries knowing what's going on over there: whether it's child labor (did you see where the orphans got blown up in a fireworks factory?), huge amounts of pollution (China passed the U.S. in that regard two years ago), no worker safety (thousands of miners die each year), no product safety (milk, pharma, lead paint in toys), etc.  I can't believe people don't look at the country of origin and say enough is enough.

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8. marklar on December 9, 2009 9:33 PM writes...

#2 Hap:

Love the reference to Pink Floyd's 'Dogs' in your paraphrase

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9. Dr Doom on December 10, 2009 3:46 PM writes...

Actually they're trying this layoff trick all across the globe. At Sandwich each group was treated individually so as to not trigger the 100-person threshold for 90 day consultation. Very dubious legally but who's got the balls in government to tell Pfizer they're breaking the law. There will be a lot more heartbreak in 2011 when Frank resizes the headcount again to match the revenue.

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