Skip to comments.Documents Forecast ‘Mass Layoffs' At Pfizer
Posted on 04/19/2003 12:53:26 PM PDT by Willie Green
For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.
The new Pfizer Inc., which inherited about 60,000 employees this week with its takeover of the Pharmacia Corp., is making preparations to conduct mass layoffs in the coming months, according to internal documents.
The documents, which were shown to human resources employees at a Separation Process Training on April 7, indicate that laid-off employees will be given a 13-week severance pay, bolstered by three weeks of severance pay for every year of employment. However, some employees, for security reasons, might not be given advance notice that they're being fired, according to the documents.
At the meeting, human resources employees were told how the firing process could unfold and were given certain dates and timeframes when employees could be notified of layoffs. A chart with the title Key Wave Dates seemed to indicate that employees would begin getting notification on May 2, and that subsequent waves of employees would be notified every two weeks. But Pfizer officials stressed Thursday that the dates in the documents were merely training guidelines that represented a hypothetical timeframe.
Those wave numbers, those dates are arbitrary, said Liz Power, a company spokeswoman. This is a training tool.
The documents, which bore both the Pfizer and Pharmacia logos, were not specific to Pfizer's Global Research and Development Headquarters in Groton-New London, Power said.
According to federal law, if a company conducts a mass layoff characterized as being more than 500 jobs the employees must be notified 60 days before their last day of work. This WARN period, which stands for the Workers Adjustment Retraining Notification Act of 1998, is referenced in the Pfizer document.
According to the document, human resources employees would begin processing separations on Wednesdays, and would notify employees identified on Fridays, on a bi-weekly basis. Those employees would then have 60 days of employment remaining.
But certain employees in security sensitive positions, with access to critical information, facilities, systems and materials, such as database administrators, lab animal handlers and security officers, would not be given that 60-day period, the document indicates. Immediately after the employee is notified, that person would not have access to the Pfizer computer system. The determination will be made, not based on the individual, the document says, but by position type to ensure consistency.
The document also discusses how the company would handle the transferring of workloads, particularly related to intellectual property.
The intellectual property that we hold as a company is our most valuable asset and it's the basis of our business, Power said, also noting that the training sessions demonstrate that these decisions are very well thought out. It's a way to make colleagues prepared.
The documents say terminated employees would be given 13 weeks of severance pay, with an additional three weeks pay for every year of employment, if they sign a release form. If not, they would get one week of pay per year of service.
The documents also say that employees who sign the release would be given outplacement support and a retraining allowance of $5,000.
Employees eligible for retirement those aged 55 with 30 years of service would be given $100,000 a year, beginning at age 65.
Pfizer officially acquired Pharmacia and began operations with the company on Wednesday, two days after gaining final approval for the merger from the Federal Trade Commission.
Pfizer, which bought Pharmacia for just under $58 billion, announced the merger last July. Since then, employees at the Groton-New London campus have been speculating about layoffs.
Anxieties there have been compounded by strong messages from upper management about the need to streamline the research and development process to come up with more blockbuster drugs, faster.
In a recent presentation, the head of research and development, Peter Corr, said, To bring Pfizer beyond (number) one with consistent long-term growth, the new PGRD must supply a steady stream of high-value innovative medicines that offer significant advantages over current therapies. We will have the people, resources, technologies, and facilities to change the course of human diseases; however, the approaches we took to be successful in the past will not necessarily make us successful in the future.
From 2000 to 2002, Corr noted, Pfizer invested $15 billion in research and development, but only three new drugs were submitted to the federal Food and Drug Administration for approval.
We will be a leaner organization with less overhead, more money for projects, a pipeline that reflects the strongest compounds from legacy Pfizer and legacy Pharmacia and a therapeutic reach that is both broad and more focused on projects that are more likely to succeed, Corr said.
Companies faced with painful realities often hesitate to act in order to avoid the pain change can bring, he added. But hesitation doesn't eliminate the need for painful changes, and it only postpones them to a day when they will be even more painful and less effective.
Probably means that Human Resources is gonna get the axe as well, despite the training.
And reduce industry competition.
Airline mergers, OTOH, do result in price boosting competition elimination.
AKA pink slip distribution.
Bush had better get this economy moving, or I sense the need to "do" Syria and perhaps Iran as the election gets closer!
Big Pfizer layoffs seen
Pfizer Inc., fresh off its takeover of Pharmacia Corp. and its 60,000 employees, is preparing for ''mass layoffs'' in the coming months, The Day of New London reported. The plan is spelled out in Pfizer documents that were shown to human resources employees at a ''separation process training'' on April 7, the newspaper reported. Pfizer would not comment on its layoff plans. ''Decisions are still being finalized,'' said Pfizer spokeswoman Betsy Raymond
More than 2,000 people work at the five sites that will be shut down over the next 18 months. Pfizer spokesman Andy McCormick said all will not necessarily lose their jobs, but conceded that some people will. He declined to give a number.
Pfizer has not said how many of Pharmacia's 43,000 employees will be terminated because of the merger, which was completed April 16. McCormick said the company is still deciding who will receive job offers.
``We have 3,000 jobs open worldwide. We haven't hired anyone in 10 months because of the acquisition,'' he said.
But since Pfizer expects to extract $2.5 billion in savings from the acquisition, analysts expect a vast number of former Pharmacia employees to find themselves unemployed. Numerous employees at Pharmacia sites in New Jersey have been given pink slips.
Peter Corr, Pfizer's head of research and development, said the changes will lead to some of those cost savings.
``A lot of that comes from efficiencies and procurement savings -- how we buy and what we buy,'' Corr said. ``We spend billions of dollars every year and we can leverage lower costs.''
He also said the company will save money by closing some small research centers that cost money in upkeep and operations. After the Pharmacia takeover, Pfizer had 25 sites worldwide.
``That's too many, so we had to made decisions about sites,'' Corr said.
More announcements will be coming about any changes to Pfizer's district offices, sales staff and manufacturing operations, Corr said.
Pfizer is closing three of its own sites -- one in France with 350 employees, one in Germany that employees 300 people and one in Ontario, Canada. Pfizer could not immediately say how many people were employed there. The company also is closing a Pharmacia plant in South San Francisco that employs 300 people and a complex in suburban Chicago with 1,300 employees.
Meanwhile, Pfizer said it will keep its research and development headquarters in Connecticut, where it employs about 6,000 people. It will move its veterinary and inflammatory disease research programs to Michigan, where Pharmacia had a large presence.
Pfizer also will lay off some workers in Connecticut involved in information technology, administration and public relations, but those cuts will be minor, said Pfizer spokesman Stephen Lederer.
In addition to housing the two programs previously based in Connecticut, Michigan will be the home of two other research centers, one for drug safety evaluation and the other for pharmaceutical sciences.
However, some other jobs will be transferred out of the state. Pharmacia employed about 10,000 people in Michigan, and Kalamazoo will now be Pfizer's largest manufacturing site.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm offered an incentive package worth nearly $635 million to Pfizer if the company retained and expanded Pharmacia's operations in the area. Most of the incentives were available only if Pfizer maintained a total of 8,500 jobs in Michigan, including 5,000 in research and development.
Shares in Pfizer rose 10 cents Tuesday to $30.80 each on the New York Stock Exchange.
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