Stryker lays off 88 workers, plowing ahead with plan to close Florida facility and eliminate 495 jobs

The next wave in a yearslong program of rolling layoffs at a Stryker facility in Florida is scheduled to take place at the end of May, the company said in a recent filing with the state.

A total of 88 jobs at the Lakeland, Florida, office will be on the chopping block May 31. More than two-thirds of them are production associate positions, while the remainder include automation feeders, cleaners, production specialists and a handful of team leaders.

The medtech giant provided the information in a March 31 letter to Florida’s Rapid Response dislocated worker coordination unit, in compliance with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires that companies give two months’ notice before permanently closing a facility or laying off 50 or more workers.

“Stryker constantly evaluates our business to ensure our resources are aligned to drive growth, serve our customers and increase operating efficiencies in a complex global environment. After a careful and detailed analysis, we have decided to close our Lakeland, Florida, facility and move these operations to other Stryker locations,” the company said in a statement sent to Fierce Medtech.

“This is a multi-year initiative started in 2021. People are one of our most important values, and we will support impacted employees throughout the closure process,” the statement continued.

At the end of October 2021, in another WARN filing, Stryker notified the state of its intent to eliminate a total of 523 jobs and to permanently close the Lakeland facility by the end of 2023.

In a letter attached to that notice, the devicemaker said it would begin by laying off 26 employees Dec. 31, then “eliminate another 497 positions on a rolling basis” by the same date in 2023, for a total of 523 layoffs. Once again, the vast majority of workers affected by the first round of job cuts were production associates of all levels.

The March 31 notice affirmed Stryker’s decision to move forward with the next phase of the cuts. It clarified that 22 positions had ultimately been eliminated at the end of December, rather than the originally planned 26.

The overall layoff total has also changed: With the December cuts, the upcoming 88 in May and another 385 positions that are on deck to be eliminated on a rolling basis by the end of 2023, the number of layoffs linked to the Lakeland facility’s shutdown now clocks in at 495.

According to the company, none of the positions affected by the scheduled cuts qualify for bumping rights—in which a laid-off senior employee can stay on by taking over a less-senior worker’s role—and none are represented by a union.

“We hope to implement this program of layoffs with the least possible disruption to our employees and the community,” Stryker said in both WARN notices.