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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There was a time when Bayer, the German company best known for the aspirin it developed in 1899, was a very big presence in Pittsburgh as the multi-national giant’s North American headquarters had 2,600 people working off Parkway West.
Today, the local company is a shell of its former self, having sold its material science division to Covestro and consolidated its headquarters and health sciences division in New Jersey.
So the news out of Germany that Bayer was laying off 12,000 workers by the end of 2021, or 10 percent of its workforce, would appear to have minimal impact in Pittsburgh.
A company spokesperson refused to clarify that point, telling KDKA, “There are no further details that we can provide at this time regarding specific sites apart from the ones identified in our global announcement.”
That announcement stated most of those job losses would come out of Germany in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, crop science and corporate functions, which would not appear to be here in Pittsburgh.
Sources familiar with Bayer tell KDKA that the jobs remaining here, perhaps between 500 and 1,000, are so-called back-office jobs in information technology, payroll processing and human resources with no corporate leadership based in Pittsburgh.
That means, the source says, that reductions are less likely to occur here than elsewhere.
But any restructuring of a multi-national company the size of Bayer poses risks for all employees.