Updated: 07/31/2013 6:26 PM
Created: 07/31/2013 5:12 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri
With all the talk of layoffs, what are Bausch and Lomb employees and former workers saying? News10NBC spoke with a woman who worked at B&L for three decades. Her layoff was in no way related to the company's sale to Valeant. The former employee says she has been talking to her friends who still work there about what this sale will mean for them.
Jennie Barchet, former B&L employee, said, "They probably feel like they've been to a funeral. It's the best way I could describe how they must be feeling."
Barchet's thoughts are with her friends and former colleagues. A longtime Bausch and Lomb employee, Barchet knows how they are feeling. She was laid off in 2011 after spending 30 years with the company. When her job as administrative assistant was eliminated, she says it was more of an isolated departmental change. This time, though, the situation is much different.
Bausch and Lomb is in the process of being purchased by Valeant Pharmaceutical. In an open letter to B&L workers on Monday, the CEO of Valeant warned them to expect job cuts up to 10 to 15 percent across the newly combined company. The letter doesn't say how many cuts that will mean in this area. But as I-Team 10 has been reporting since last week, Greater Rochester Enterprise is preparing for as many as 1,000 local layoffs.
Barchet said, "I believe people inside Bausch and Lomb are feeling very shocked, very surprised. Even though this has been coming down the pike for a while, I think now reality is starting to set in."
Barchet has reached out to friends still at B&L. She received a Facebook message from one who said she didn't want to go to work because it's so depressing.
Barchet said, "I'm very sad for them. Very sad. I think a lot of them are very good people. They've worked very hard for Bausch and Lomb and a friend of mine has put in 40 years. And I know she's probably devastated at this time."
When the Valeant deal is finalized, which could come as early as next week, it will also mean the end to Bausch and Lomb's Rochester-based headquarters, a place where the company started 160 years ago. Valeant will move the headquarters to New Jersey.
Barchet said, "I think that when Mr. Bausch and Mr. Lomb founded the company they had intended it to stay in Rochester. I think they're going to be losing a lot of good talent, people who won't be able to move to New Jersey if they were given the opportunity to."
Barchet did get a severance package of almost nine months when she was laid off. She said she hopes Valeant will live up to its promise to honor severance for B&L employees. After she got laid off, she did try to apply for jobs, but has found it difficult to find work. Her advice to B&L employees is to take advantage of any career counseling services and sign up early.