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Boston Sci warns local workers of likely layoffs

Boston Scientific Corp. has begun alerting workers at its Twin Cities operations about layoffs that are expected to pare 2,300 positions worldwide, or 13 percent of its workforce.
/ Source: KARE11.com

Boston Scientific Corp. has begun alerting workers at its Twin Cities operations about layoffs that are expected to pare 2,300 positions worldwide, or 13 percent of its workforce.

News of job cuts comes as no surprise to employees in Minnesota, where the Natick, Mass.-based medical technology firm has operations in Maple Grove, Arden Hills and Plymouth. The company has warned for months that it needs to reduce costs, as sales of its heart defibrillators and stents slowed because of safety concerns and product recalls.

Although the company confirmed that it was cutting staff from its 18,000-member workforce, officials on Tuesday would not quantify how the job reduction will affect local operations. Some Wall Street analysts have estimated that several hundred to almost 1,000 Minnesota workers will lose their jobs.

The company employs about 6,500 in the Twin Cities, home to its two main business units.

The company's interventional cardiology business is based in Maple Grove and its cardiac rhythm management operations, formerly Guidant Corp., are based in Arden Hills.

Anthony Alongi, director of the state's dislocated worker program, said Tuesday he expects the job losses to be around "a few hundred. It's a closely guarded secret, we don't know yet. But the company has been in contact with us in broad terms to discuss our programs." The state has mobilized to help displaced Boston Scientific workers with free job counseling and training, a job bank and workshops on résumé writing and job-hunting tips.

About 420 Boston Scientific workers who were laid off last winter have generally had good luck in finding new jobs because med-tech is one of the state's signature industries, said Kirsten Morell, a spokesman for the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In an Oct. 5 communication to employees provided to the Star Tribune, Boston Scientific said affected employees will receive 60 days' notice if their job is eliminated. The company said the layoff is necessary to bring current spending in line with current and forecasted revenue targets, and would have occurred whether or not the company had bought Guidant.

Boston Scientific has struggled to integrate the troubled Guidant defibrillator and pacemaker business following a series of safety-related recalls that dampened sales of the $30,000 devices. That business, the employee handout says, "remains a critical element of our long-term business strategy of diversifying our portfolio."

The company said Oct. 17 that another 2,000 employees are expected to leave the company as it divests certain assets. On Monday, the company said it will sell its cardiac and vascular surgery businesses, which are not located in the Twin Cities, to a Swedish company for $750 million.

Janet Moore • 612-673-7752

Janet Moore • jmmoore@startribune.com