B + L Changes: Local Leaders React
Local leaders are reacting to the news that B + L’s new corporate parent, Valeant, plans to cut 10 to 15 percent of its workforce. Although there are no specific numbers yet, Valeant says it will keep manufacturing and research and development jobs in Rochester, but it will be consolidating corporate positions into its new U.S. headquarters location in New Jersey.
Mayor Tom Richards is encouraged that some jobs will stay here, but he notes that a great many jobs and the future of the downtown B + L building is in question. He is hoping that those being laid off will be absorbed by other area businesses and by new entrepreneurs.
Mark Peterson, who leads the local business organization, Greater Rochester Enterprise says that the fact that the local economy is not dominated by just a few companies any more helps blunt the impact of job losses:
"Our economy has been transitioning for three decades and the big three are going through their final transitions with Kodak re-emerging, and with B and L now being acquired, so the reality is we are a diversified economy, we will absorb job losses and we'll continue to grow and be strong in many industry sectors.”
Peterson says what's important now is to try and retain as much of job talent that will be laid off in the local area.
The President of the Rochester Business Alliance, Sandy Parker, says the loss of corporate headquarters is significant, but at least the manufacturing jobs will stay here:
"I think that there has been a lot of speculation recently that essentially there was going to be a complete shutdown, so this is good news from the perspective that the bulk of the manufacturing is going to stay here in Rochester, and that's key, that's where the numbers are anyway. "
Parker says the RBA stands ready to help find jobs for the workers who are laid off.