Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and 2023 mayoral candidates react to news of Catalent layoffs

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton, and two candidates running for mayor Susan Sandberg, and Kerry Thomson, have released statements after news broke Wednesday that Catalent will lay off 400 workers at the Bloomington facility.

Hamilton, a Democrat, recently announced he won’t run again for mayor.

Mayor John Hamilton said:

I learned today that Catalent is laying off 400 employees, full-time and temporary, between November 30 and December 2. I am sad to learn about this difficult and painful decision and my heart is with the affected individuals and their families. 

My understanding is that in responding to the pandemic Catalent significantly ramped up operations to accommodate the manufacturing of life-saving vaccines, but at present, the same volume of production is not necessary and thus is not economically sustainable as before. 

My administration will continue to work with the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, (BEDC), the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, and Catalent and their employees to minimize the impact on those affected by these layoffs. We will also continue working to bring jobs to Bloomington and connect people with those job opportunities. 

Catalent continues to be a major employer in Bloomington, employing 3,100 people after these layoffs and remains invested in this community. We look forward to their continued long-term growth and success, including significant capital improvement projects already underway here in their Bloomington facility. 

My office will continue to participate in a community response that supports Bloomington workers and businesses and connects Bloomingtonians to work opportunities.

Mayoral candidate Susan Sandberg said:

I was taken completely by surprise to see this announcement in the Bloomingtonian today, and then seeing it sent to my attention by other community leaders.  My first reaction is concern given the trust we’d placed in Catalent when granting a generous abatement for the promise of expansion and additional jobs.  While I don’t yet have enough information to say much more, I will be following up with our Economic and Sustainable Development department staff and others at the City while we assess what this means for employment opportunities for those laid off right before the holidays.

Mayoral candidate Kerry Thomson said:

The news from Catalent today represents a cataclysmic event for these 400 workers, their families and our community as a whole. Our hearts go out to all those affected, especially at this time of year. As a community, I know Bloomington will rally around these families and do all we can to support them. Each of these employees represents the skills and values we treasure as part of the Bloomington family. They are needed here, and I pledge to do everything I can to support them during these transitional months.

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