BUSINESS: Pfizer confirms layoffs at local facility

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

Pfizer Inc. confirmed layoffs at its Sanford plant this week, continuing the company's plan to cut 400 positions locally by 2015. 

Pfizer spokesperson Joan Campion wouldn't confirm the number of people laid off at the Sanford site, located at 4300 Oak Park Road, but said Thursday that fewer than 40 of the plant's 650 employees were terminated. 

"In 2010, we announced we were going to transition to a clinic manufacturing site," Campion said. "As part of that transition, we did eliminate some positions this week. We had 650 employees and cut fewer than 6 percent."

From a business community standpoint, layoffs are never welcome news, said Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce President Bob Joyce.

"When we see people laid off in one of our premier industries that provides high-tech jobs and at above average wages, that is not good news," he said.  

Pfizer employees are aware of the downsizing, Joyce said, and he hoped they were offered early retirement or severance packages. Campion said she could not release any other information concerning the layoffs. 

"We certainly hope Pfizer, as they continue this scale down at our facility, look for other ways to use that facility," Joyce said. 

Pfizer announced its intentions to cut 400 jobs from its plant in Sanford by 2015 nearly three years ago. The Sanford plant began operation in 1987 as Wyeth, then it became part of Pfizer in 2009 following the company's acquisition.