Op-Ed: Pfizer Inc. is active, vital, taxpaying part of Eastern Connecticut

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut would like to set the record straight regarding Pfizer Inc.’s presence and future in southeastern Connecticut. References in the CT Mirror story dated Oct. 29 (Malloy tries to catch a favorable tide at Electric Boat) grossly misrepresents Pfizer’s past actions at its Groton campus, its current status and its future plans.

In the article, it says “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy tried to ride the tide Wednesday, coming to EB to watch the company’s chief executive officer credit a $10 million state loan with speeding the renovation of an empty Pfizer laboratory into a $31.5 million facility housing at least 200 EB designers, engineers and procurement officers.”

Op-ed submit bugCorrection: The building in question was not a lab, but had been used for functions at Pfizer other than research. The following statement in the article – “Drug-maker Pfizer’s decision to close the lab and move its research to Cambridge, Mass., was an economic setback to the region and a political blow to Malloy …” – is also inaccurate. Pfizer did relocate 400 jobs to its Cambridge, Mass., facility in 2011 but they were not connected to that specific building.

But most egregious — and flat wrong — is the next sentence: “The political optics Wednesday were simple: Pfizer is gone, but EB is here and hiring for jobs that pay an average of $90,000 annually in wages and benefits. EB employs 8,700, and it pledged to add at least 200 more.”

The truth is that Pfizer is firmly here in Groton, with 3,000 jobs and 350 jobs added in the last year. The company’s average local salary is $133,000. Groton remains Pfizer’s largest global site.

And there are 11,500 additional jobs supported by Pfizer in the region.  The company pays $113 million in taxes and both the company and its employees give a considerable amount to charities in Connecticut – including $6 million last year to Connecticut residents for free or reduced-cost medicines to those in need. To print that statement in a news article is, plain and simple, irresponsible journalism.

Pfizer’s commitment to the region extends to its hard work to keep buildings it no longer needs in use, as evidenced by the company’s recent donation of  a building to CURE for an incubator project as well as the data center to the state for its use.

It’s easy to simply report the bad news — and certainly bad news travels fast. It’s critical for our state’s media outlets, however, to report accurate news. And what is accurate is that Pfizer Inc. remains an important, vibrant, active, taxpaying part of the Groton, southeastern Connecticut, and Connecticut landscape.

Tony Sheridan is president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT

 

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