Over 200 jobs will be lost in Maspeth by the end of May when the Duane Reade distribution center is shut down, as parent company Walgreens — which acquired the pharmacy chain in 2010 — has decided not to renew the building’s lease.
According to published reports, the layoff of the 214 employees at the warehouse located at 50-02 55th Ave. will begin in April and finish by the end of May when the facility is closed for good. More than 200 Duane Reade and Walgreens locations across the city are serviced by the Maspeth facility.
A spokesperson for Walgreens said the Maspeth center had not been operating at full capacity in recent years, and opportunities to improve the company’s productivity and operational efficiencies by opening a new cross-dock facility in New Jersey, led to the decision to close the Maspeth distribution center.
The closure of the distribution facility comes after Walgreens cut nearly 220 jobs at the location in 2013.
“Over the years, as our business has grown, we have worked to streamline our distribution operations and in recent years this facility has not operated at its full capacity,” said Phil Caruso, spokesman for Walgreens. “With a new cross-docking facility, we have excess capacity and we will wind down our Maspeth operation in phases over the course of the coming months, with closing scheduled for late May.”
The 214 employees facing layoffs are members of International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Local 210. QNS has reached out to the union for comment on the layoffs and is awaiting a reply.
Walgreens, however, will not leave the workers to fend for themselves.
“Employees be will be provided or offered severance packages,” Caruso added. “Throughout this process we will work with local resources to organize job fairs and invite nearby distribution facilities to those events in an effort to make the transition for our employees as smooth as possible.”
QNS has also reached out to the Maspeth Industrial Business Association (MIBA) for comment and is awaiting a reply.