Merck whacking 500 at West Point, PA, plant

For West Point, PA, Merck giveth and Merck taketh away. In the midst of significant downsizing, right now Merck is taking away 500 jobs from the extensive facility there.

The drugmaker ($MRK) has filed a so-called WARN notice with the state saying that it will cut 500 jobs at the facility. The notice says the cuts will begin just ahead of Christmas and last just past New Year's, or Dec. 23 through Jan. 5. The company a month ago announced it would get rid of 8,500 employees worldwide, about 20% of its workforce, in an effort to cut $2.5 billion. It is the company's fourth major restructuring since 2008.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the 500 comes from the 12,000 employees the company has in the state, most of whom work at the manufacturing and research site. The site has been the beneficiary of some of the $1 billion Merck has put into its vaccine manufacturing operations that included upgrades in Durham, NC, and Elkton, VA, as well. The bulk API for its rapidly selling Zostavax vaccine is made in West Point, but the company got FDA approval in September to also make the bulk product in Durham.

Notices started going out to employees this week and are happening across the board, including in R&D. In October it closed a plant in Kenilworth, NJ, and laid off 113 workers there.

- read the WARN notice
- more from the Philadelphia Business Journal

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