The Estee Lauder Cos. will move its operation out of Oakland, taking 116 jobs from New Jersey in the latest in a trio of closure announcements that have hit the borough.
The global fragrance maker that has been in Oakland since the 1970s, said it will move the operation filling and packaging bottles of fragrance to an existing facilities in Melville, L.I., resulting in 85 layoffs on April 4.
Thirty-one employees at the Oakland plant will be offered jobs in other company plants, either in Melville or Bristol, Pa, the company told the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Estee Lauder released a statement that said the move will enable the "increased synergies between the company's other Melville-based operations, such as skin care production and research & development.
"The company considered staying in New Jersey," the statement said, adding that "the opportunity to increase collaboration with other Melville-based operations and the impending lease expiration made this the right time to move."
Mayor Linda Schwager said she had only just learned of Estee Lauder's intentions.
"I'm not pleased. I'm afraid of loss of jobs," she said. "It all comes down to finance and economics -- what's best for the company," she said. "It's going to trickle down and hurt everybody, employees, residents, taxpayers, everybody is going to be affected."
The move won't immediately affect the property taxes on the land, Schwager said. But eventually, she added, if the building remains vacant the owner could file a tax appeal to have the taxes reduced.
Records filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission say Estee Lauder leases the 148,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. County tax records say the property owner, 5 Thornton Road Associates, LLC pays about $250,000 in annual property taxes.
The move comes about two weeks after DRS Technologies told employees that it would shut a manufacturing facility in Oakland and move the work to a Pennsylvania plant. The company, which will keep open a second building in Oakland, which containes offices, declined to say how many employees would be laid off, but said it would be less than 50.
In September, furniture company Raymour & Flanigan announced that it would close a customer service center in Oakland and in November move the 91 jobs to Suffern, N.Y., 14 miles away.
Until the furniture retailer moved, all three companies occupied buildings within a few blocks of each other -- Estee Lauder and Raymour & Flanigan are on the same street -- in an area known as the Oakland McBride Corporate Park.
Estee Lauder reported the planned departure to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development as required by the federal WARN Act, which requires companies under some circumstances to give local and state government 60 days' notice of a job cut.
"All eligible employees will be paid for all time worked up to and including the date of termination," the company said in its filing. Some employees will be offered severance pay, Estee Lauder said.
Shares of Estee Lauder rose 58 cents to close at $63.72 Tuesday.
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