Covidien expands elsewhere while axing 90 Hobart jobs

Last week, Covidien, one of the largest employers in Delaware County, announced that it was making the first layoffs of its almost 20 years in the tiny village of Hobart. This week, the Daily Mail Mountain Eagle has the numbers: 90 hourly and salaried positions are gone out of 700 at the plant.

According to the spokeswoman who talked to the Daily Mail Mountain Eagle, it's all globalization's fault:

“Manufacturing operations for Covidien’s Pharmaceuticals segment have been impacted due to decreasing volumes and increased global competition. To sustain the business, it is critical to control costs at our Hobart facility and align our operations with customer demand.”

But in April, Covidien was expanding, not contracting, according to Medical Marketing & Media.  The business journal reported last month that Covidien had launched two new pain drugs, Exalgo and Pennsaid, was hiring 250 sales reps to hawk them:

To educate prescribers on these new offerings, Covidien enlarged nearly every function of its medical affairs department, including the addition of medical science liaisons, a first for the company, said Neuman. JoAnna Schooler, communications director at Covidien, said "a couple hundred" reps would be deployed in support of each product.

So perhaps the unidentified Covidien employee quoted in the Daily Star last week has a better read on why the pharmaceutical company is firing Hobart employees:

It seems those being laid off, including himself, are good performers but higher-wage earners, he said.

"It's all politics," he said.