Sector News

Teva Pharmaceuticals closing Haverstraw plant

September 1, 2016
Life sciences

Layoffs are underway at the Teva Pharmaceuticals USA plant that is closing in the town.

Teva is winding down operations at its manufacturing plant at 223 Quaker Road, Pomona, due to economic reasons, according to the state Department of Labor. There are 236 employees the site, according to the state.

Michele Pelkowski, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an email that the closure “impacts approximately 80 employees in operations at the site.”

Terminations began last week and will extend through the plant’s closing date on Feb. 28.

“Closure of the Pomona site has been under consideration for a period of time, and Teva’s Pomona-based employees were informed previously of this possibility,” Pelkowski said.

But the announcement came as a surprise to the town.

Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips Jr. said he was left “in the dark” about the closure, and Teva has yet to reach out to the town about its future plans.

“I’m very surprised and extremely disappointed,” Phillips said.

Teva produces niacin for cholesterol at the site, and houses research and development activities there, Pelkowski said.

The plant’s closing will allow Teva to consolidate its research and development operations at a site in Elizabeth, New Jersey, following the acquisition of Actavis Generics, which was completed in early August, Pelkowski said.

More than 130 jobs are expected to be created in New Jersey, and research and development employees from the Rockland site will be given the opportunity to interview for those positions.

Teva has several sites elsewhere in New York, including Fairfield, Buffalo, and Copiague, as well as Edison and North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Teva moved to the site in 2008 after acquiring Barr Pharmaceuticals — the latter of which was the fourth largest generic drug company at the time.

The 40-acre property has a combined 2016 county and town tax bill of approximately $397,000, according to Haverstraw. Teva’s 2015 school tax bill was about $208,000, which has yet to be fully paid.

The property has a current tax assessment of approximately $12.5 million, according to Haverstraw.

Phillips said Teva’s departure is not expected to dramatically impact the town’s budget.

“Every tax dollar matters, but it’s not going to be anything drastic,” Phillips said. “It’s a minor hit to the town.”

The closing was even more surprising, Phillips said, because Teva had recently invested more than $1 million into the site, and the “modern building” has been maintained for years.

No decision has been made about whether Teva will sell the site, Pelkowski said.

Numerous unions represent employees at the plant, including the Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, and United Steel, among others.

In 2014, Teva was fined $8,500 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after inspectors found two violations of workplace safety laws at the Pomona plant.

Teva has its U.S. headquarters in North Wales, Pennsylvania, and manufactures more than 350 generic medicines, according to the company website. Teva in the U.S. is part of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. The company has more than 46,000 employees worldwide.

“It’s hard to see any business leave Rockland County, but we understand the cyclical nature of every industry. … We hate to see anyone lose a job,” County Executive Ed Day said in an email.

Day added that the unemployment rate for Rockland in July was 4.2 percent, and 4.3 percent in the Hudson Valley Region — the lowest since July 2007.

The closure of the plant comes on the heels of a round of layoffs at another pharmaceutical company in Rockland.

By Michael D’Onofrio

Source: Lohud

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