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Arrow shifting production from N.C. to Mexico, Czech Republic

By: Gayle S. Putrich

June 3, 2014

As part of a restructuring at parent medical device maker Teleflex Inc., Arrow International will move more than 600 jobs from North Carolina and California to Mexico and the Czech Republic during the next three years.

No plastics workers in the Asheboro, N.C. facility have lost their jobs yet, Cam Hicks, global vice president of human resources for Teleflex, told Plastics News, but the layoffs are coming, starting in 2015. 

The Asheboro plant employs 635 workers. Most will be laid off starting in 2015 and going into 2016, according to the company. Arrow International was purchased by Teleflex in 2007.

Teleflex makes catheters and sterile surgical kits at the Arrow facility in Asheboro, where it employs 470 plus and 165 contract workers, and central venous access catheters in Menlo Park.

Some non-manufacturing operations are expected remain at the Asheboro location, such as a product sterilization group, but the "significant majority" of the jobs there are being eliminated, Hicks said.

“This was a difficult business decision, the result of several months of review of our global operations,” he said. “It does not reflect on the commitment, effort and performance of our employees.”

Hicks said the company is committed to transparency with its employees and to helping them to transition into new jobs. As the restructuring continues through 2017, employees will be given a minimum of 90 days notice and offered severance packages, benefits extensions and outplacement services. Because the layoffs are due to operations moving overseas, employees also may be eligible for federal aid under the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program.

The changes at Teleflex's Arrow are not related to the medical device tax, which some medical device manufacturers say has significantly hurt their business since it became law as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. 

Teleflex is not the only plastics processor sending jobs south of the border in the coming years.  Electrochem Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Texas-based medical manufacturer Greatbatch, Inc., will move 170 jobs from Beaverton, Ore. to Tijuana, Mexico, by the end of 2015, the company announced May 28.