Bensalem pharmacy company announces closings

December 2, 2010 3:34:27 PM PST
On the day that the labor department reported that November marked a 2-year low in the number of Americans applying for initial unemployment benefits, a pharmacy company in Bensalem announced it is closing, flushing hundreds of jobs down the drain.

It's a double whammy for Bensalem as St. Louis-based Express Scripts Inc., a large mail-order pharmacy company, has announced plans to shut down a processing plant by February 1st.

530 jobs will go with it.

This follows a recent announcement by the company that they'll close another Bensalem plant on Marshall Lane as of mid-December. 365 jobs will be lost there.

These closures are all part of a long contract battle with the Service Employees International Union, nearly 1,000 jobs gone

"It's horrible; they're taking advantage of us. This is a highly profitable company, we've given them $8-million and it's still not enough to keep our jobs," employee Pam Rogers said.

The company claims labor costs in Bucks County are the highest in their system and the union has refused to make enough giveback concessions.

A statement from Express Scripts reads, "We understand how this situation affects the families involved and that is why we worked tirelessly during negotiations to avoid this outcome."

The union is fighting these plant closings at every available level. One way, they're asking the National Labor Relations Board for injunctions against these shutdowns claiming their being done illegally.

Management claims an impasse has been reached. The union's chief negotiator says no.

"The company, basically, is improperly declaring impasse, actually, improperly forced a vote on a last and final offer that was an illegal and improper offer," union negotiator Stephanie Haynes said.

Democrats in the Philadelphia area congressional delegation are putting heat on Express, calling on the Pentagon to investigate if Express Scripts will be able to fulfill its commitments to the defense department.

A loss of 1,000 jobs here will have a major spinoff impact on local merchants. This means the plant closings will have far reaching negative effects.


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