Microbiology firm to add jobs in area Becton Dickinson unit boosting employment locally by up to 200

5 Midwest plants closing

Some positions may be held for transfers, others to be new hires

October 22, 1997|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems will close five plants in Wisconsin and Michigan that employ 450 people over the next two years, but add 150 to 200 jobs in the Baltimore area.

Donald R. Daut, director of North American Operations for Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems, which has headquarters in Sparks, said yesterday the moves were part of "an ongoing review of overall efficiencies."

He said it was not yet determined how many of the positions here would be filled by transfers from the Midwest and how many would represent new hires. He said workers at the plants being closed would be offered the chance to transfer to Maryland, but he expected "there won't be as many volunteers as we will have positions created."

The growth in Baltimore area employment -- currently about 1,600 -- will be phased in, as plants close over the next 14 to 24 months, Daut said. Jobs added here will range from high school-educated technicians to graduate-level scientists, he said.

Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems is a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Becton Dickinson & Co., a medical supply and equipment company with $2.8 billion in revenue last year. The microbiology division makes culture media, used by microbiologists to grow bacteria, and related products.

In March, BDMS acquired Difco Laboratories Inc., which makes similar products. Both of the Michigan plants and two of the three Wisconsin plants being closed had been operated by Difco before the consolidation.

The closing eliminates some duplication and allows for production to be done in larger, more efficient plants, Daut said. The additional work will be done in "existing floor space," so BDMS will not need to rent or build additional space in the Baltimore area.

The facilities to be shut are in Detroit and Livonia, Mich., and Monona, Sun Prairie and Mauston, Wis. In addition to its Sparks headquarters, BDMS also has Baltimore-area operations in Hunt Valley.

Last fall, the local operations laid off 88 workers.

Pub Date: 10/22/97

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