Nearly 1,000 Bucks Co. Employees Could Face Lay-Offs
BENSALEM (CBS) — Almost 1000 employees in Bucks County could be out of work in December.
Express Scripts, a prescription processing company with two facilities in Bucks County announced its site on Marshall Lane will be shut down and 365 employees will be laid off when a union contract expires in December. Bipin Patel is one of them.
“So depressed because I have 3 kids and losing this job is very hard on us,” Patel said.
625 employees work at the Street Road site and their future is still up in the air.
Jackie Dixon works as a data analyst technician at the Street Road site and told Eyewitness News, “It’s frightening for a lot of people because everybody is living on edge not knowing when we’re going to get the ax next.”
To ease the nerves of union members and devise a plan to keep jobs and families in Buck County, the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 leaders hosted an informational meeting.
“They were seeking $8.8 million in concessions,” Lead negotiator, Stephanie Haynes, told members.
The union offered to make $8 million in concessions but the company rejected that proposal.
“They would not accept our concessions. It’s not the case of we’re not willing to help out, we were willing to give into at least some of their things,” Lidia Kosyk explained.
Kosyk is a pharmacist for Express Script on Street Road. She’s been with the company for 11 years and now she’s disappointed and disheartened, she could be let go in December.
“I have 3 boys. One is in college. One is going to college next year. It’s going to be real tough but I’m doing what’s right. What I feel is right,” Kosyk said.
The meeting ran about an hour. The purpose, according to union members, was to keep both Marshall Lane and Street Road plants open. Elected officials were on hand to show their support and offered to help in any way they can.
Union leaders called the company’s decision “short-sighted” and also announced that plans are being made to make it more “expensive” for Express Scripts to close both Bensalem sites.
Thom Gross with Express Scripts said in an email:
“Our decision to close the dispensing pharmacy in Bensalem was the result of the continued overcapacity in our system and the opportunity to utilize updated technology available at other Express Scripts facilities. The facility will close on Dec. 16 after the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement. This was a very tough decision for us but necessary for business reasons. We have requested negotiations with the union regarding severance benefits for employees impacted by this closing.
Negotiations continue with the union regarding the future of operations at our other Bensalem facility, which handles front-end prescription processing on Street Road. Because of our recent acquisition and advances in our technology, we have extra capacity in our system. The high-tech equipment at our St. Louis and Tempe pharmacies is more advanced, efficient or better suited than the older equipment at Bensalem.
Last year, we discussed an expansion of the Bensalem workforce, an entirely new, state-of-the-art facility, and wages and benefits that were highly competitive. Unfortunately we were unable to reach an agreement with the union. We selected St. Louis as the location that best meets our long-term needs for the business and our employees.”
Reported By Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3