Pfizer Dumps Bristol Tennessee

by Lewis Loflin

The long sorry story of the King Pharmaceuticals aka Pfizer is coming to an end it seems in Bristol. Pfizer has announced it will by 2014 it will can another 130 employees. Another 16 positions will be lost as logistics work is moved to Memphis. This is the usual outcome from mergers and this is no exception. This comes on top of an earlier elimination of 117 positions at their Bristol office.

The "good news" is they "plan" to retain the remaining 166 commercial and support employees according to Pfizer spokesman Richard Chambers. When Pfizer bought the King Pharmaceuticals they intended only to strip it of its patents and made it clear they have no use for the workforce. They are seeking $200 million in cuts at King. They have no intentions in my view of keeping this 166 jobs, why should they?

This is part of a pattern in Bristol where we continue to lose good jobs and replace them with government (for those with political connections) or mostly leisure & hospitality and related low-end service jobs. As Dr. Hipple of ETSU has pointed out in the past, let's consider a few facts from the Kingsport Times-News February 19, 2002 that still hold true today:

Northeast Tennessee has lost at least 2,100 manufacturing jobs since last July, including more than 1,300 this year alone. Tri-Cities metropolitan area recorded a net loss of 1,400 manufacturing jobs from December 1999 to December 2000. At the same time, the region gained 2,200 service-producing jobs. In all, the region posted a net gain of 800 jobs....manufacturing jobs tend to pay higher wages and salaries than those in service-related industries. As a result, the region's overall payroll may be declining, despite a net gain of jobs."

This comes on the heels of other massive job losses. Last fall Brightpoint North America purchased Touchstone Wireless a cell phone refurbishing company, then promptly canned their 650 workers in 2011. Also see Rising unemployment masked by phony statistics. Ref. BHC August 11, 2011.