Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pearl Rivers Pfizer Finally Notifies NYS About Layoffs

Pfizer of Pearl River, NY is a major private employer in the Hudson Valley that employs 2,931 employees, as many as 800 commute from Orange County and the vicinity around it.

The company has been in progress on some large layoffs and restructuring lately. But as usual, the labor law has been slightly ignored in the process. There is a LABOR LAW called the the "WARN ACT"- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act - that requires companies with 50 or more employees to give 90 days' notice of layoffs to the state and workers who will lose their jobs.

Pfizer had apparently laid off 90 to 100 workers in an apparent violation of the law.

Workers there said that Pfizer had moved ahead with layoffs without notifying the state. In meetings with employees, managers told workers that at least another 600 employees would be laid off in waves during the next 12 months. When asked, though, managers told employees that WARN didn't apply to them.

Interestingly enough, Pfizer notified the state Tuesday that more workers would be laid off here in mid-March. That's on top of 200 layoffs Pfizer announced two weeks earlier.

Documents filed by Pfizer say 91 workers will lose their jobs. In another contradiction the same filing identifies 95 positions that will be eliminated: 49 union, 46 non-union.

The recent WARN filings appear to be an effort by the company to correct and distance themselves from their previous statements. The company filed the most recent WARN notices after a local newspaper reported that Pfizer appeared to be in violation of state law.

It seems that workers rights are always on the bottom of the list in too many corporate plans. While we don't expect them to be their number one concern - these laws and peoples rights should at least be on the screen. At the very least - don't brush it to the side by telling people it doesn't apply when it does.

Pay attention people - nobody is going to do it for you - except the unions, that is.

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