Laid off McNeil plant workers can bid for other J&J jobs

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) says it expects staffing levels at its McNeil Fort Washington, PA, facility, which it projects to be retooled and back in operation by mid-2011, to be "substantially lower than they are today." It has announced the layoff of 300 people, about three-quarters of the plant staff.

It's small comfort, but those employees will be able to bid for jobs throughout J&J as internal candidates, Bloomberg reports.

Layoff victims will be paid through at least mid-September, the company says, as they have been since the April plant shut-down, to be followed by severance based on years of service. McNeil plans to use other J&J facilities to resume manufacturing products formerly made in Fort Washington. It still expects that many such products will be unavailable through year's end.

Plant operations halted as product recalls expanded and news of numerous and significant quality lapses emerged. The McNeil consumer healthcare unit has recalled some 140 million bottles of children's medicines made there because of contamination and superpotency concerns, as reported.

The company says it submitted a quality improvement plan on Thursday to the FDA concerning changes to plant management, fixes to quality and regulatory compliance systems, and equipment changes, says the New York Times. For the facility, equipment changes and upgrades are likely to require very different skills than those of the current plant. More news may come July 20, when J&J will be reporting earnings to investors.

- see the Bloomberg report
- here's the NYT story