Zimmer Biomet plans to cut most jobs at Dover plant
DOVER – No less than 80% of unionized employees at Zimmer Biomet could lose their jobs in the coming months if the company goes ahead with its plan to relocate manufacturing to Costa Rica, according to union leaders.
Officials at United Steelworkers Local 2737-15 were briefed on the proposal on Monday.
“The impact is going to be big for this community. It’s going to be bad,” said Corey Ayers, who leads the local union. “We have a lot of younger members who have children, who have just bought houses, cars. How are they going to afford it? We have older members who (continue to work) for their insurance.
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“It’s very sad that we’ve gotten to the point in America where profit is the #1 goal. I understand that money creates the world, but not investing here in America and taking it somewhere else is unacceptable. “
The union represents approximately 185 employees at the facility located at 200 W. Ohio Ave. Union secretary Lisa Hadley said the local factory makes products for hip and knee replacements.
Impacts of the Pandemic on Zimmer Biomet
In a notice to the union, Zimmer Biomet said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted its business.
“The number of elective surgeries continues to be well below pre-pandemic numbers, pricing pressures and global supply chain constraints on product components and packaging materials continue to increase. ‘adversely affect the business of the company,’ the notice reads.
“As a result, the company is currently evaluating entering into a long-term agreement with an existing supplier to support the manufacture of pressure products.”
If the venture is successful, a number of employees at the Dover plant would lose their jobs from January 7. The downsizing would continue until March 31.
“With the manufactured goods that they want to get rid of, it’s going to take away about 80% of our workforce,” Ayers said.
Maybe 30 people would keep their jobs, he said.
Zimmer Biomet responds and cites “market headwinds”
In an email to TR, Heather Zoumas-Lubeski, vice president of corporate communications for the Warsaw, Indiana-based company, said, “Zimmer Biomet has met with union officials and local employees to discuss possible operational changes at the Dover plant to improve efficiency, combat continued market headwinds and further position the business for long-term success.”
Acting Mayor Shane Gunnoe said he was made aware of the situation by the union.
“We have reached out to Zimmer representatives in hopes of scheduling a meeting with them, as well as our county and state economic development partners, to try to support and retain jobs at our Dover plant. “, did he declare. “The city government, along with all of our regional partners, is committed to preserving and maintaining as many jobs as possible at the Dover plant.”
The union was holding meetings with its members on Thursday to consider concessions in the hope of keeping manufacturing in Dover.
“We hope to be able to come up with a proposal after these meetings that will persuade the company to agree to continue manufacturing these products here for some time,” Ayers said.
Nancy Molnar, TR staff member, contributed to this story.