The law is intended to give workers notice of impending layoffs at companies with more than 100 full-time employees. Merck this week posted a WARN notice on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor website.
"We are committed to managing these separation aspects with dignity and respect for our employees, with the greatest expedience and will provide appropriate support during this transition," spokeswoman Lainie Keller said Friday evening in an e-mail in response to questions, including about the timing of the holiday layoffs.
Keller declined to specify which divisions at West Point would have layoffs. "I don't have details on any further reductions at this time," she said in the e-mail.
Merck has been under pressure from Wall Street investors to produce more revenue and profits than it has in recent years. Philadelphia native and chief executive officer Ken Frazier named a new leader of research and development early in 2013, but medicine can take a decade to go from the laboratory to a pharmacist's shelf. Besides the recently announced layoffs, Frazier said Merck was accelerating the closure of facilities. In October 2012 Merck said it would move its headquarters from Whitehouse Station, N.J., to Summit, N.J., but that plan was scrapped Oct. 1. The Summit facility will also close, and headquarters functions will move into the Merck facility in Kenilworth, N.J.