GSK nixes plant closure, saving up to 210 NY jobs

GlaxoSmithKline has changed its mind about closing a plant in upstate New York. As the Albany Times-Union reports, the drugmaker still plans to move some skin-product manufacturing from the Oak Hill, NY, plant to Canada, but it will shift some toothpaste production there from New Jersey, saving up to 210 New York jobs.

The plant is a former Stiefel Laboratories facility, acquired by GSK when it bought that company last year. Glaxo has been working to consolidate Stiefel's operations with its own--and to cut costs as part of a global restructuring effort. It had announced the closure of its Oak Hill plant as part of that streamlining.

But now--following some vigorous lobbying from state and local officials--the company will invest some $56 million to refit that factory to make Aquafresh toothpaste. In the end, the plant will employ some 210 workers, but some of those jobs will be taken by workers who choose to transfer there from the New Jersey plant, slated for closure in 2012.

Still, local officials cheered Glaxo's decision. They had offered several incentives to induce Glaxo to stay, including $7 million in energy-efficiency and modernization grants for the plant. Plus, the county will freeze property taxes at the site, and the company will be exempt from some sales taxes.

- read the Times-Union story