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B&L: Job loss estimates lower
Rochester, N.Y. -- The announcement earlier this week that Bausch & Lomb's new owner planned significant layoffs prompted local job loss estimates that ranged between 800 and 1,000 impacted workers. After days of conversations with company leaders many state and local officials are gaining more information that suggests the true number of lost jobs to be about half that.
"We could lose up to 1/3 of our workforce, our workforce is close to 1,500 it mostly will go into corporate, managerial jobs, the production lines will stay the same I hope," said New York's Lt. Governor Bob Duffy on Thursday.
Duffy said he spoke with Valeant's Chief Financial Officer on Wednesday and gained a better understanding of what the company plans.
Nothing appears to be set in stone as the Canadian-based Valeant Pharmaceauticals still awaits regulatory approval for its acquisition of Bausch & Lomb. In a memo sent to employees on Sunday the company explained its desire to cut the combined workforce of the two companies by 10% to 15%. The company memo described a plan to operate a corporate B&L office in New Jersey with a staff of perhaps 100 or less. It also explained how Valeant wanted to maintain the current manufacturing and research jobs in the U.S. and Rochester.
"If you look at a potential hit of one-third of a workforce that's huge for Rochester," explained Lt. Governor Duffy. "What the executives did tell me yesterday is they are considering bringing other positions from other areas of the country here so we're hoping that will pan out."
Duffy, Rochester's former mayor pointed to Windstream's acquisition of PAETEC Communications as an example of how initial job loss totals and company plans can change for the better. Windstream currently owns and operates a building at the former Midtown site in Downtown Rochester.
With current plans to move corporate staff to Valeant's U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, 13WHAM News asked the Lt. Governor if he thought New York could convince Valeant to instead move corporate jobs from New Jersey to Rochester where B&L's World Headquarters Building built in 1995 remains 21% vacant.
"Funny you should mention that because what I did pitch yesterday was the Governor's new Start Up NY program which has incredible incentives, tax free for 10-years for new jobs it doesn't apply for retaining jobs but it does for new jobs," responded Duffy. "They were not aware of that it really peaked their interest."
Duffy plans to meet with Valeant executives in New Jersey in the next two weeks. He hopes to bring a local delegation of supporters to contribute to those conversations.