BUFFALO, NY - By the end of the year, Michigan-based Stryker Corporation should complete a company-wide downsizing, which will result in the shuttering of two Western New York operations, according to a company spokesperson.
Last December, just over a year after Stryker acquired Gaymar Industries, the company announced it would close facilities in Orchard Park and West Seneca putting approximately 160 people out of work.
The company said the process of closing down production lines for the various medical devices it produces, and relocating equipment to other Stryker sites or supply chain partners, would take place in phases and would be completed by the end of 2012.
The Connection To "Obamacare":
Stryker cited an aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a basis for its decision slash its company-wide workforce of 20,000 by five-percent.
Like other businesses in its field, it said it was attempting to cut costs ahead of a medical device tax which kicks in next year.
That portion of the ACA (often referred to as "Obamacare") will have the medical device industry start paying an excise tax of 2.3% of their revenues.
Stryker cut its global workforce and conducted other restructuring moves, in an effort to reduce its annual pre-tax operating costs by more than $100 million, starting in 2013 when the excise tax goes into effect.
Blood In The Water:
With the President's re-election increasing the odds that more aspects of the Affordable Care Act will be phased in, the blogosphere has blown up with his detractors pointing out potential pitfalls, such as layoffs by Stryker and other manufacturers of medical devices.
One article in particular, posted on brietbart.com and entitled "Obama Donor's Corporation Lays Off Employees Due to ObamaCare", notes that: "Jon Stryker...heir to the Stryker Corporation...was one of the top five donors to the Obama campaign. Having donated $2 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC, Stryker also gave $66,000 in contributions to Obama and the Democrat Party."
Taming The Spin:
A Stryker Corporation spokesperson indicates that the inference that the company belongs to someone who heavily supported the President and his policies, and who now is having to lay off employees as a result, is not quite accurate.
While Jon Stryker is the grandson of the founder of the company, Stryker Corp. Vice President for Public Affairs Tamara Cutler sent WGRZ-TV a statement which read:
"Jon Stryker is not an employee, has no management role in Stryker Corporation, nor is he an officer or director of the Company. He is one of many shareholders Stryker Corporation has."