More than 200 people are expected to lose their jobs at a Duane Reade distribution center in Maspeth in less than a year – with 175 of those positions being axed by December, according to a notice recently submitted to the state Department of Labor.
Walgreen Co., which owns Duane Reade, said in the notice that it plans to lay off 175 of the approximate 400 people who work at the Maspeth plant in December – and another 45 individuals will be forced out as of June.
Workers at the site, located at 55-05 50th St., are expected to be given severance packages.
“The layoffs at the Duane Reade distribution center are very concerning, and in the coming weeks, my office will work with the city to provide the displaced workers with career re-entry options,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said. “I fully intend to work with Walgreens and George Miranda, who represents the workers at this center, to prevent any future layoffs and keep this site in Maspeth to provide good jobs for our community.”
Craig Caruana, a Republican running against Crowley for her seat representing Council District 30, too lamented the loss of jobs.
“It has become too difficult for both large and small businesses to thrive here in New York,” Caruana said. “If we don’t turn it around, more and more New Yorkers will lose their jobs. We need to be attracting businesses and jobs to Queens, not driving them away. I will work to bring good jobs and keep them here by making our city a place where businesses of all sizes can flourish, without being stifled by over-regulation and harsh fines and fees.”
Walgreens could not be reached for a comment for this article, but a spokeswoman did tell Crain’s New York Business that the layoffs are occurring “because the physical design of the distribution center is not up to the standards necessary for a state-of-the-art distribution system that is efficient, effective and customer responsive.”
The spokeswoman also said that the Maspeth center, which is about 470,000 square feet, does not have the kind of storage space the company wants to expand production there.
While Walgreens is laying off Queens workers, it appears the company as a whole is performing well financially. It reported about $6.2 billion in sales this August, which represents a 5.6 percent jump from last year.
By Anna Gustafson