Local News

450 to Lose Jobs in Plant Closing

Posted August 8, 1996 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb announced Thursday that it will close its 15-year-old Morrisville manufacturing operation, and all 450 employees will lose their jobs. But the announcement was made so far in advance, employees have plenty of time to make career decisions.

While plant closings can be devastating on both individuals and their communities, Bristol-Meyers Squibb has let its workers know 18 months in advance of the first separations. The closing will be completed by early 1999. Some employees have said they will work until their division closes; others will start a new job search.

The parent company is in a serious cost-cutting mode, and will also close a Buffalo, New York, plant that employs 260.

The Morrisville plant manufactures Excedrin, Bufferin, Ban and Comtrex. Heightened competition in the headache and cold remedy field also forced the decision.

"We operate at 35 percent capacity at Morrisville, and there was no indication that we'll grow," said spokesman Anthony Carter.

Operations director Alan Norris said the company plans to do everything it possibly can for employees -- "training, outplacement, anything." He said some workers might be able to find jobs at other plants within the company.

The closing will affect Morrisville, since Bristol-Meyers was the largest employer and constitutes 18 percent of the Wake County town's tax base. This projected tax loss may have to be made up by Morrisville's 1918 residents. Other companies, such as AT&T, Kaiser Permanente, Radian and MCI, have made Morrisville their home. If other companies relocate, the Bristol-Meyers loss might be just a temporary setback