Fisher-Price’s East Aurora campus will have 100 fewer employees by fall.
About 100 employees received notices Wednesday that their jobs will be consolidated to Mattel’s North America Division in El Segundo, Calif., as of October. The majority of those affected have been offered relocation packages to move with their jobs to the company’s California headquarters, but an undisclosed number of the workers was terminated, effective immediately.
Employees across all levels of the workforce were affected, from entry level to senior managers. Workers in design and development, research and testing are not affected.
“It really is no reflection of the performance or talent of these individuals,” said Brenda Andolina, a spokeswoman for Fisher-Price.
The move is a direct result of corporate restructuring that took place at Mattel a year ago. Originally, all functions involving Fisher-Price brands were housed in East Aurora. Last year, Mattel formed a North America Division, which encompassed sales, marketing and retail support positions across Mattel brands.
Wednesday’s action peels away employees who work in those sales, marketing and retail positions for the Fisher-Price brand and places them alongside their counterparts in California who represent Mattel’s other brands, such as Barbie and Hot Wheels.
Fisher-Price currently has about 900 people working here and will continue to hire a robust seasonal workforce, Andolina said.
Employees who have been offered relocation have a couple of weeks to make a decision. If they decide not to make the move to California, they will be able to stay at the East Aurora headquarters until October.
East Aurora Mayor Al Kasprzak said his biggest worry is for employees who face a tough decision of either relocating to California or looking for other work here. He is also concerned about the money that will leave the East Aurora economy with departing workers and about the local businesses that money supports.
“Fisher-Price is certainly a big part of the business community here,” Kasprzak said.
But he also called Fisher-Price insular. “We don’t ever hear anything from them,” Kasprzak said.
The mayor said Fisher-Price had deeper ties to the community and a larger presence before it was bought out by Mattel in 1993.
Indeed, the company’s presence in East Aurora has been diminishing for 20 years, even farther back than the Mattel deal.
In 1990, Fisher-Price had 3,400 workers in Western New York. By 1991, its workforce had been cut in half.
The company lost 450 workers when it closed its East Aurora toy-making operations, 720 when it closed its Holland manufacturing site and another 250 when it cut back at its Medina plant. About 170 jobs were shed at the East Aurora headquarters, followed by another 100 “redundant” corporate positions cut after the Mattel takeover.
In 1995, the company cut about 700 employees from its Medina factory before closing that factory for good in 1997.
Mattel and Fisher-Price moved toy manufacturing to plants in Mexico and China.