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by: lpackard

Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 15:01:42 PM EST

The big news of the day is that Pfizer is closing up shop in Michigan. That's 2,350 jobs lost. Read more from the Freep. This is devastating news for the Ann Arbor area, which takes the bulk of the hit. Pfizer is one of the largest employers in Washtenaw County.
lpackard :: Pfizer
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Pfizer | 46 comments
Granholm owes this state some sort of an explanation.

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., a producer of active and passive safety systems headquartered in Livonia, is extending its local capabilities in China to offer global and domestic customers TRW's electronic stability control system, a technology to enhance vehicle safety. TRW Automotive Components (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., the company's wholly owned subsidiary, is investing in a long-term program aimed at increasing localized production of ESC in China.

Why MI.  We have been at 7+% for six years, and our housing values are tankng, assuming they can even be sold.  Why MI?  What is going on?  she owes this state some sort of an explantion.

Republicans need to explain why they are still promoting China first, Michigan last policies that are destroying our middle class.

[ Parent ]
Where's DeVos when you need him?
He supposedly had a fantastic economic plan for our state, perhaps he'd like to offer it up to the Gov again.

That or he could just start by bringing the jobs he sent to China back to Michigan.

I want to change the world, not help people adjust to it. - Millie Jeffrey, MI - National Women's labor and Democratic activist, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

[ Parent ]
Both are wrong
It is neither Governor Granholm nor Republicans who are to blame for this. It is just a bad situation. Everyone needs to stop assessing blame (as the Governor did not assess any) and do exactly what she said, make a plan for the future. You can only control what you can control. It is useless to blame the Governor or State or National Republicans for one company (where the situation is an overall downsizing) making a business decision. It isnt like a plant is up and moving to Mexico here...

check out my blog!

[ Parent ]
It was Clinton who gave us NAFTA...
So, don't blame all of this on Republicans.  Where the hell are Levin and Stabenow?  This is why the last thing MI needs is another Clinton in the WH.  I think all of our politicians need to come clean on what is going on, what they have tried to do about it, why it didn't work, etc. 

[ Parent ]
See my post
far below about NAFTA.  I didn't want to thread it because it's so long.

Facts are funny things.  Always good to have a few on hand.

I'm not that eartha - or that one either

[ Parent ]
Asking the wrong person
The Governor is but one person; she has the power to persuade, but no power to make the ultimate decision for any business to stay or leave, hire or layoff in this state.

General Motors, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler have more management staff in this state than Lansing has elected officials; you'd be better off starting with posing that question to the management of the Big 3.

Or manufacturing companies in general; how many of them remained here?  Ask them why.

Heck, why is the Disembodied Head still here?  The business climate can't be that bad if we can't get rid of Alticor-Amway.  Maybe you should ask him why he's staying so we can duplicate it and help his competitors move here.

Daimler-Chrysler in particular has said they have a problem with obtaining enough educated workers -- and by educated D-C could mean as little as literacy and computer-familiar.  Is that the Governor's problem alone?  She can do some of the lifting, but most of this should be improved down here in the grassroots.  There have been areas in this state with literacy rates approaching 40% during the last decade; that's a problem that cannot be fixed in one or two terms, must be fixed by a generational shift in attitudes across the entire population, and not just the governor's office.  Until we start seeing this as OUR problem by demanding accountability even down at the school board level, it's not likely to get fixed.  I know I need to be attending a few more school board meetings, and soon.

[ Parent ]
Blaming the workers is BS!
Before NAFTA, we had plenty of educated workers.  Check the want ads!  You'll see tons of ads for companies in other states for our workers - how bad can they be?  In my job, I have the opportunity to ask corporations "what skills do our workers lack?"  "what are these jobs of the future that our workers are so ill prepared to do?"  You know what I get for answers?  Nothing, blank stares.  You know why?  Because it is BS!  They want to leave the country for cheap labor or hire more H1B visas, and they don't have the "balls" to say it.  So, they demonize the workers and the unions.  Blame them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I blame Bill Clinton and the Democrats for permitting this, and I want to know what they intend to do about it - now!  Hillary will never get my vote.

[ Parent ]
I think you misunderstand NAFTA
First of all, NAFTA comes from Bush 1.  It was finished under Clinton, but it wasn't Clinton's.

Second, NAFTA gave the US authority over Mexico's enforcement of their own labor laws.  Mexico's labor laws are actually pretty good, but Mexico doesn't enforce them.  NAFTA, if properly enforced, should have slowed illegal immigration and raised the standard of living in Mexico. 

It wasn't enforced well under Clinton.  But NAFTA was a good plan on paper, just disastrous in real life.  (Kinda like Autoworld, or the reconstruction of Iraq) 

So as far as blaming Bill Clinton & the Democrats, that's fine, but throw some of that blame on the free trade Republicans who refuse to enforce the NAFTA provisions.  Bush 2 doesn't even pretend to care about enforcement.

[ Parent ]
NAFTA sucks, and there's plenty of blame to go around
Bush, Clinton, about 3/5 of the GOP, and over 1/2 of the democrats circa 1993. GATT also sucks.  I opposed both of them then, ("Safeguards" were bluster) and still do today.

Ross Perot was right.

"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security" - Benjamin Franklin

Opinions are my own and not that of LCRP

[ Parent ]
You are trolling.

Pure and simple.

Your BS about NAFTA in regards to a BigPharma company is pure crap.

So is your nonsense about blaming the workers farther up thread.  The point was that people who can't read aren't working, and that the problem belongs to all of us, not just the Governor.  But apparently you can't read.

Thanks for making my point for me.

[ Parent ]
Relax, Rayne, we all know he's not a troll...
He's just pissed is all, and wants somebody to give an answer that's going to make things better.

Having said that, NAFTA has nothing to do with this.  As we all know by now, it's due to Pfizer screwing up and not working to get ahead in medicine.

And NAFTA isn't even the source of our economic woes, although it doesn't help.  The real problem lies with our trade policies with China.  Way more jobs are being shipped there than they are Mexico.

Anyway, NAFTA was made because Clinton knew we'd be able to get cheaply priced foreign products that way (building spending power of the middle and lower classes), and the manufacturing jobs that would be lost would be replaced by the technological jobs that would be created.  Clinton was right about that, as the 90's had a huge tech boom.  Unfortunately, nobody forsaw us having our software jobs outsourced to India and China as well.

[ Parent ]
Don't call me a troll and learn to read.
I am not blaming the workers, I am backing them.  Our workers are getting jobs out of state left and right.  If they are so bad, they wouldn't get a job anywhere.  My point is that corporations(manufacturing, pharma, you name it) lie, plain and simple.  They create strawmen arguments to hide their greed and shift the blame. Want to bomb Iraq?  Create WMDs and make GE very happy.  Want to outsource jobs? Accuse the workers of being unskilled and under-educated idiots. Want to destroy the environment, create "Clear Skies".  If Clinton hadn't of supported NAFTA, it would have died a thousand deaths.  People trusted him NOT to sell the workers (blue and white collar) in this country out, which turned out to be pretty stupid on our part.  Think you'll get retraining money from NAFTA?  Ha, not enough to go around, people are standing in line. So much for that Clinton promise, too. What do you retrain in?  Another question business can't answer.  All they want is cheap labor and all the DLC Democrats want is campaign money.

[ Parent ]
Apparently you don't invest
Ask yourself if you had 20 million dollars to invest where you would put it for optimum growth...knowing that the decision you make will either keep your job or lose it inside the next 3 to 9 months.

Why is Michigan a compelling place to invest money over any other location in the entire world?

Don't sell me.  I'm still here, in spite of losing a full-time job that went overseas in 2002.  I've already sunk my investments here.  So has my spouse.  You might say we've literally bet the farm on Michigan.

When you can sell the state of Michigan on corporate leaders who make that kind of investment decision every day, you will understand the problem and have found the solution.

In the mean time, your trollish rants do not sell this state.

[ Parent ]
I have lived in MI all my life.
I am totally invested in this state, which is why the situation it is in pisses me off.  I often wonder if the "big 3" found themselves on the short end of the stick and decided to capitalize on it to accomplish union busting.  I think Granholm is too nice to Republicans.  I think the DLC and the Clintons are corporate owned and not concerned about me or my state.  I want to know why Levin and Stabenow aren't up there demanding attention for MI situation.  I want to know why PA gets more TAA dislocated worker retraining dollars than MI.  I want to know why Levin and Stabenow aren't doing anything about the Work First amendments that are threatening MI and all the other states with severe funding cuts.  I want to know why Stabenow voted for the bankruptcy bill when Michiganders are going bust everywhere.  Corporations lie!!!  They blame workers, unions, geography, the weather for all of the actions they take to improve profits and increase pay for CEOs.  I want to know what the Democrats in DC and both parties in Lansing intend to do for MI, for me?  I am tired of the politics and the games from all sides.

[ Parent ]
I completely agree...
That corporations and wealthy individuals abuse the complexity and costs of our legal system to their advantage.  That's why I can't say that I blame some folks for picking up weapons and going after folks ... if you can't afford to fight back in our legal system and the legal system itself is unjust (see Michigan Supreme Court), what other recourse do you have?  I feel your anger... I also see light at the end of the tunnel with the great shift in voter sentiment in 2006, desires for universal health care sprouting up in unexpected places (a big hole for legal maneuvering and otherwise costing people their lives in the name of health insurer and hospital profits), among other good changes in the wind.

[ Parent ]
Mike Rogers can help!
I know he doesn't represent Washtenaw County, but Mike took $10,000 from Pfizer's PAC during the 2006 cycle. Maybe he can call in some old favors and get them to reverse this decision!

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

It's sad...
...that a comment of such high quality snark has gone unrecognized by the Michigan Liberal community for damn near 24 hours.

Shame on us!

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Thanks for nothing, Michigan Republicans
If memory serves me right, one of the reasons the Republican legislature passed and John Engler signed the drug liability shield bill--which bars lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for the side effects of FDA-approved drugs--was to keep Pfizer from moving jobs out of the state. That worked out just swell.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Gotta love our stem cell climate here
I have to believe it was a factor in the Pfizer closing. 

What's depressing is that Pfizer's biggest losing products (e.g. torcetrapib) came out of places they're still keeping open.  The scuttlebutt I've heard is that they've rewarded incompetency and lack of efficiency with these moves.

[ Parent ]
And don't forget the Engler tax cuts...
That was going to promote jobs and prosperity for MI.  Where the hell is it?  Enough kissy face.  Somebody better stand up and start speaking truth to power or MI will never recover.

[ Parent ]
The people of Michigan respond with a "Hearty" comment
Normally it's not my style, but I can't help but mention something that I overheard right after the announcement came out.
Given all ($800 million) that the city of Ann Arbor did for them, and despite that they provide(d) the means to keep food on the table and roofs over the heads of thousands of Michigan's citizens, I feel that the comment is worth repeating, even lightly santized...


I want to change the world, not help people adjust to it. - Millie Jeffrey, MI - National Women's labor and Democratic activist, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

Entrepreneurs, where for art thou?
This is sad news for anyone who is rooting for Michigan - even those of us from afar.

On the bright side, I am happy to hear reports of GM's CE worrying that cheap energy prices might take America's eye off the ball in regard to developing alternative sources of energy.  The Governor and other politicians and business leaders looking at developing alternative fuel sources are on the right track.

Michigan needs to consider why young people leave the state.

Sure, we can point to the overcast skies and cold temperatures part of the year, but I can't help but think it also reflects how welcome or unwelcome people feel when visiting Michigan.  This not only covers the 2004 and 2006 Prop. 2 constitutional amendments that easily passed to my dismay, but it also considers the little things - greetings when walking by folks on the street, driver courtesy, so on and so forth. 

I thought Detroit's music scene was starting to see a renaissance, but then I heard Kid Rock and Jack White left for Tennessee or somewhere.

Growing Michigan is everyone's charge, not just the Governor's.  Each one of you can make Michigan a more attractive state to stay in or move to .... unleash your creative side, if you will ... I think it is the arts that make things interesting and help draw folks together.  Anyway... just my armchair observations from the San Francisco Bay.  ;)

Kid Rock: Michigan is better off without him
He's a third-rate talent and a suck-up to George W. Bush and the Republicans. As Branch Rickey once said, losing him to another state is addition by subtraction.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

[ Parent ]
His last album sucked....
Putting his politics aside, his last album left most of his fans (including myself) saying "WTF?"  He went from a rap/rock mix to country music/classic rock.  He now sounds like Cowboy Troy, only worse.

[ Parent ]
but just like a shopping mall really needs anchor stores to be viable, the music scene in Michigan needs some "success" stories that stick around to motivate and encourage others, build upon their success, ya know?

I agree on Kid Rock's music - blech.

I am thrilled to say I have tickets to see Bob Seger when he comes this way February 24th - across the bay in Oakland.  That should be a good show. :)

[ Parent ]
I like Eminem much better....
His last album wasn't that great, either, but hearing Mosh just before the elections was nice.

I also like The Suicide Machines, but I haven't heard anything new from them in a while, and they've stayed underground.

White Stripes and Von Bondies are also good.

[ Parent ]
Points well taken
I've believed for years, as a "factory brat" (dad was UAW skilled trades, 30-and-out), that people in industrialized states would rather wait for the jobs to come to them, than to help create the jobs themselves.  In particular, I'd love to see more employee-owned manufacturing facilities--bet the outsourcing would grind to a halt in a big hurry.

But on the other hand...small business is incredibly difficult to make a living in.  The statistics are dismal (90 percent of them fail within five years, I think), and those that succeed don't pay their employees or owners all that well.  I keep going back to the last scene in Roger and Me, where Michael Moore compares the Helmac lint picker-upper company's effect on Flint with the GM manufacturing powerhouse of the 1950s and 60s.  As Ben Hamper said about GM in his book, Rivethead, "you could drive a train into the damn building.  There's something really wrong with trains going into buildings."

Big companies have their place, and without outsourcing, we'd still have manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. and in Michigan.  That said, I don't know what Pfizer is up to, but in terms of lost jobs and lost tax revenue for our already broke state government, this really sucks.

I'm not that eartha - or that one either

[ Parent ]
Pfizer's big money patents are expiring
From the AP story-

It's the second time in two years the maker of Viagra and Lipitor has announced a major cost-reduction plan to combat the loss of about $14 billion in revenues this year due to expiring patents. The company is at risk of losing 41 percent of its sales to generic competition between 2010 and 2012, according to Prudential analyst Tim Anderson.

Pre-emptive restructuring. They have nothing in the pipeline to replace the revenue.

Analysts are skeptical Pfizer's current and pipeline drugs can generate enough sales to compensate for revenue it stands to lose. Pressure on Pfizer has intensified since safety issues forced it to halt development of the star drug in its pipeline, which was slated to replace the best-selling Lipitor as it loses patent protection as early as 2010.

And there you have it.

[ Parent ]
It also took a $1 billion hit last December
Pfizer halted clinical trials on a drug designed to raise "good" cholesterol levels because the data showed that a higher mortality rate in the patients who took the drug. Poof! One billion dollars in R&D down the drain.

Stockholders felt some nasty side effects, too. Pfizer's market capitalization took a $20 billion haircut the next day of trading.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

[ Parent ]
And lawsuits, and healthcare reform...
These two things are also eating at Pfizer's profitability, lawsuits now and healthcare reform in the future.

If lawsuits weren't a financial drain, Pfizer wouldn't have been pushing legislation to protect their backsides (many of Pfizer's biggest lawsuits are related to fundamental problems with drug safety, suggesting problems in their overall R&D-to-commercialization process).

And if legislation to improve their profitability could still be bought on K Street, they'd not need to downsize (more than a little of the lobbying has been aimed at reducing lawsuits against them).

I suspect if Pfizer hadn't spent so much money on marketing over the last couple of decades, expended so many resources on lobbying, or millions every election cycle on campaign donations -- concentrating instead on improving R&D -- they wouldn't be in the position they're in today with nothing in the pipeline, in spite of optimum conditions to get drugs approved through a very friendly Republicanized-FDA.

Ultimately, Pfizer's real profitability problem is lousy management.

[ Parent ]
Gay Index.
I have several very talented friends that are either LGBT or LGBT-friendly, and they have serious reservations about either moving back/staying in Michigan because of the social climate in the state.

It's hard when people like Mike Cox are using 2004's Proposal 2 to revoke partnership benefits, adoption rights, and cities like Detroit are incredibly homophobic.

You're not going to draw much creativity when our Proposal 2's send out big "NOT WELCOME" letters to very diverse crowds.  C'est la vie.  I agree with and appreciate the morale boost -- and it's great to see burgeoining businesses in downtown Lansing and KZoo -- but it's a little complex.

-- Signature! --

[ Parent ]
That's why I left!
Prop. 2 in 2004 was the last straw for this gay guy.  San Francisco makes me feel welcome and free - and that's why I just signed an outrageous mortgage for a permanent home here in December.

[ Parent ]
I bet it felt good
to vote for Nancy!

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. - Winston Churchill  

[ Parent ]
Easy to vote for her...
but I wasn't a big fan when I first moved here.  However, I'm becoming a bigger fan every day she's got that gavel in her hand.  :)

[ Parent ]
Yep. And it doesn't help the cliched crossroads of my life any...
I hear ya, Chico.

... Stay in Chicago.

... Return to Michigan.

... Stay in Chicago.

I have friends here in Chicago from Kent, to Ottawa, to Ingham, to Washtenaw, to Livingston counties.  I had a good convo about this with my friend from Pinckney who lives here, and she said the same thing I did: but who am I going to date?

Sounds so 1950's housewife of us, but really -- you can't be an automatron for a state if you can't reasonably live your life.  I can't go out with people from the MSU pool forever.  That's why a lot of my gay friends from high school already hopped aboard the Amtrak to Chicago.

-- Signature! --

[ Parent ]
Same thing here
I had a whole group of friends leave for Chicago as soon as they were out of school.

This was in the darker days of the late 80's, when GR really wasn't the place to be if you were any kind of different- in some respects it still isn't, but it is a lot better than it used to be.

I was * this close * to going with them, but the cost of living down there scared me.

I still might end up down there eventually. Have relatives and friends in the area. It is always in the back of my mind.

[ Parent ]
Reaction from the News
According to the Detroit News, this is why Pfizer is closing up:

"That nasty old Sen. Stabenow said mean things about us."


Among the Trees

Well, then she must've really pissed them off....
So badly in fact, that they've decided to close up in 3 other states, and at least one plant in Europe.

Wow, Debbie hurt their feelings so bad they're almost out of business! (snark)

[ Parent ]
This is especially heartbreaking news...my brother works at this Pfizer facility.  I was aware of the sales force reduction, but I truly expected the research facility to remain operational. 

I liked our "big news" better.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never." - Winston S. Churchill

Go Granholm!

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. - Winston Churchill  

Forget NAFTA--think China
NAFTA has speeded up the demise of the auto industry in Michigan by sending so many Big 3 jobs to Canada and Mexico, but that demise was going to happen anyway because our domestic auto industry has opted to spend its R&D money lobbying Washington for more lax pollution standards, instead of inventing more efficient cars.  The Big 3 have fiddled while Michigan burns.

Oddly enough, Canada has sucked away more high-paying auto manufacturing jobs from Michigan than Mexico has, and Canadian Big 3 jobs are UAW jobs.  (Here's a list of cars made in the U.S. and Canada with union labor.)  This plain fact explodes the myth that the Big 3 have outsourced their assembly jobs to Mexico so they can save money by paying their workers pennies a day.  A lot of parts are made in Mexico, but as of now there are no Big 3 assembly plants there (GM plans to open one for their new SUV model in 2007).  The reasons the Big 3 have gone to Canada are a more educated workforce and a better health insurance environment.  Coupled with the free trade provisions of NAFTA, it was a no-brainer.

I'm a lot more worried about the general policy of unrestricted trade with non-NAFTA partners, which is a republican brainchild.  These policies have inflicted misery on every corner of the world and damaged the U.S economy permanently while making a few mercantile types very very rich.  The problem is the disparity in currency value (and thus the value of labor and goods) when a previously non-industrialized country (like China) abruptly opens itself economically to the U.S. and there's no regulation in place to ease the transition.  Over time, the two economies even out and there's no savings in going overseas for labor and goods--and then it's time to find a new market to exploit.  What killed us with China is that our manufacturing sector was so huge, and China's labor pool was so huge, that it was like sending a whole galaxy into a giant black hole---sssssuck, vaporized.

Republicans (and some DLC-type democrats) whine "protectionism!" when anyone mentions regulating international trade.  Heaven forbid that we should prevent the middlemen who shuttle money and goods back and forth between here and Beijing from becoming outlandishly rich while our ability to make things for ourselves withers and dies.  Why, we can just pay China to make the things we really need, like clothes, shoes, plumbing parts, bedding, and furniture, while over here we'll all get jobs selling insurance to each other.

Funny--I hear life for the Chinese has gotten better, but not all that much better considering how much money is involved.  Wonder where all those dollar bills went?

I'm not that eartha - or that one either

Pfizer | 46 comments

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