Bayer HealthCare Job Cuts Unlikely to Be Reversed

Photo: Protesters demonstrated against Bayer's layoffs of 39 workers, but their efforts in attempting to have those employees rehired may be unsuccessful.
Bayer/Courtesy
Protesters demonstrated against Bayer's layoffs of 39 workers, but their efforts in attempting to have those employees rehired may be unsuccessful.


Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Though Bayer HealthCare's layoff of 39 employees last month has been met with protest from union members and offers from city officials to mediate between the two parties, the company - the second largest private sector employer in Berkeley - seems set in its decision to reduce costs through the elimination of these positions.

Nearly 150 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, 120 of whom are currently employed by the company's West Berkeley location, rallied outside the biotech plant Sept. 22 to draw community attention to what organizers called "needless" job losses. Union representatives met with Mayor Tom Bates Sept. 23, asking him to facilitate communication between management and workers and prevent further layoffs.

The plant is one of Bayer HealthCare's many locations around the globe and produces the hemophilia drug Kogenate. The company's net profits are up by 27 percent for the first half of 2010, compared with the same period last year - a $1.6 billion increase.

Despite these gains, the branch faced pressure from its upper management - located primarily in Germany - to become more efficient in production while reducing costs, a demand which led to the layoffs, according to union representatives.

"Becoming more competitive increases our appeal as a destination for additional manufacturing investments and helps secure a strong and prosperous future for the (Berkeley) site," said Sreejit Mohan, the company's director of public policy and communications, in a statement following the layoffs.

But according to Dave Fogarty, the city's economic development project coordinator, it is unusual for a profitable branch to make cutbacks in response to the global needs of a parent company.

Union organizer Carey Dall said that sales of Kogenate, which is particular to the West Berkeley plant, remain high and that layoffs of Bay Area employees occurred in spite of the branch's individual success and increased efficiency.

He added that employees who have retained their positions at the plant will now be forced to take on additional work to further improve efficiency at the branch.

"Employers are not hiring folks, and they're asking those of us workers to do more work faster," he said. "The folks that do the cleaning of the productive machinery - they have to do a triple cleaning of anything that will touch the pharmaceutical itself. Five to six (of them) got laid off. They're being told to do more work and do it faster without overtime."

While Mohan said in the statement that the company's management recognizes the impact of the layoffs "on the lives of people," the statement maintains that the cuts were necessary to make the company more competitive and efficient.

The rally held Sept. 22, however, was organized with aim of potentially getting laid-off workers rehired, according to Christian Sledge, chief steward for the ILWU Local 6, the Bay Area's division of the union. The union's ongoing communication with Bates is also aligned with this goal.

The Bayer layoffs are contributing to the current tide of increasing job loss in the city. From December 2007 to December 2009, the city has witnessed the loss of 7,025 positions, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tags: WEST BERKELEY, BAYER HEALTHCARE, ILWU LOCAL 6


Hannah Moulthrop covers local business. Contact her at [email protected]



Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Business
Image Pet shop may occupy planned Goodwill
After failed negotiations with the landlord and resistance from the busines...Read More»
Business
Image Sports bar to open on Telegraph Avenue
About three months ago, Larry Blake's Restaurant and Bar was boarded up aft...Read More»
Business
Image Electronic waste recycling store opens in downtown...
James Kao is ready to restore or recycle old electronics...Read More»
Business
Image Amoeba Music named best record store in U.S.
Marc Weinstein and David Prinz own the largest collection of records in...Read More»
Business
Image Hundreds file into McDonald's for its National Hir...
Hundreds of job seekers filed into Berkeley's two McDonald...Read More»
Business
Image Downtown district may see new funds
The Downtown Berkeley Business Improvement District, responsible for impro...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space