Wyeth Pharmaceuticals laying off 15 workers
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. said that it is laying off 15 unionized production workers at its Pearl River plant after a slowing economy hurt demand for the plant’s vitamin products.
The affected employees work in Wyeth’s consumer health care manufacturing business that produces and packages the Centrum family of multivitamins for the U.S. market. Sales of Centrum have slowed in recent months as consumers, facing tighter budgets in a weakening eocnomy, shifted purchases to cheaper private-label vitamins.
The layoffs at the 550-acre complex affect Rockland County’s largest private employer. After the layoffs, the site will have about 3,000 employees and an annual payroll of $275 million.
The latest layoffs in Pearl River follow a reduction of 13 jobs in March.
“We needed to bring our staffing in line with present production needs,” said Grace Ann Arnold, a Wyeth spokeswoman. “There has been a decrease in demand for the products produced in Pearl River.”
In January, drug maker Pfizer announced plans to buy Wyeth for $68 billion. At the time, Pfizer said that it will close factories but did not identify which ones.
Arnold said the layoffs this week are not related to the pending Pfizer acquisition. She added that the employees could be recalled to work if the plant’s production levels improve.