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GE Healthcare to shutter Maryland plant, move work to Wisconsin facility

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | January 30, 2017
Business Affairs
A GE Healthcare facility making incubators and neonatal warmers in Laurel, Maryland, is shutting down.

The work will move to Wisconsin, where GE Healthcare has a facility, company spokesman Benjamin Fox first confirmed to the Baltimore Sun, telling the paper that it would “help the business stay competitive by combining business operations, leveraging technical expertise and encouraging engineering collaboration."

The move will take up to two years to complete.

Beyond tighter collaboration between the two related facilities, Fox told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “from a supply chain perspective, shipping consolidated maternal-infant care products, patient monitoring, and associated accessories from one facility versus multiple sites, will benefit our customers."

About 180 GE employees in Maryland will be impacted – some will be able to stay on remotely or to relocate. Fox noted that there would be a "significant" number of of jobs created at the Wisconsin site.

Karen Glenn Hood, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Commerce told the Sun that state officials had reached out to GE, but to no avail.

"It is oftentimes very difficult for us to be able to work something out when a corporate decision is taking precedence over everything," she said.

Despite the local job loss, Lawrence Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, said, "while it is unfortunate, we are optimistic that the workers displaced by the move will be able to locate employment with another manufacturer inside the county."

The move will bring the work closer to the company's global headquarters, which relocated from the U.K. to Chicago last year.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner called getting the HQ "a tremendous win” for his state.

At that time, Fox told the Journal Sentinel that "a key part of the move" was that it brought the company HQ near to its major manufacturing sites in Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

After GE's $10 billion buy of Amersham PLC in 2004, it shifted its health care headquarters to the U.K. from Waukesha. Overall, the company employs about 6,000 in Wisconsin, of its global 51,000 workforce.

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