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Medtronic begins global workforce cuts

A company spokesperson confirms the coming job reductions, saying they will "better position the company for future growth."

FRIDLEY, Minn — Minnesota medical giant Medtronic is embarking on reductions to its full-time global workforce, with some employees being notified beginning Tuesday. 

A Medtronic spokesperson confirms the job cuts, which will "better position the company for future growth" while evaluating operations and aligning resources with strategic priorities. In a statement to KARE 11, the spokesperson said there is no solid number associated with the job cuts, as Medtronic will be working through employee notifications over the coming months. 

"These decisions are never easy, and we’re taking great care to treat all impacted employees with dignity and respect," read the released statement from the company. "Medtronic will follow fair, consistent processes and provide comprehensive transitional resources to impacted employees during this time."

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said its State Rapid Response Team is working to learn more from Medtronic about the layoffs, but told KARE 11 that it has not received a notification or WARN alert from the company. Under WARN, employers "planning a mass layoff of workers or are preparing to shut their business down must provide advanced notice to workers and other interested parties, if they employ a sufficient number of full-time workers," according to DEED.

The Medtronic website says the company currently has 90,000 employees spread across 150 countries, working on solutions to treat more than 70 health conditions, ranging from Parkinson's to diabetes. Like many large corporations Medtronic is struggling to balance future growth with economic performance and expectations: finding that balance is proving harder and harder to achieve.

“Of course Medtronic is a global company,” said Chris Farrell senior economics contributor for MPR News and Marketplace. “Beyond some layoff filings in California so far, we still don’t know much, so how much it actually means for Minnesota, is a little bit unclear.”

"The company is under a lot of pressure, both to lower its costs and to show its growth strategy,” Farrell continued. “When you’re trying to find those efficiencies, unfortunately, that usually translates to somebody getting laid off.”

The medical device manufacturer is legally based in Dublin, with its corporate headquarters in Fridley. It's estimated 11,000 people are employed in Medtronic's Minnesota locations.

A spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) tells KARE11 that, at this point, it has not received a notification of impending layoffs.

DEED has not received notification or a WARN from Medtronic after they announced global layoffs. The State Rapid Response Team (SRRT) at DEED is aware of the news and has reached out to the company to find out more. Most businesses the size of Medtronic are aware of WARN Act compliance and may send DEED a WARN if circumstances surrounding their particular layoff warrant sending one.

The announcement from Medtronic comes just a few days after a layoff announcement from Best Buy, another major Minnesota employer, which has its corporate headquarters in Richfield.

According to the company, the layoffs will involve hundreds of employees in retail stores across the country, but specific numbers and stores have not been disclosed.

In a statement, Best Buy said it is “evolving our stores and the experiences we offer to better reflect the changes in customer shopping behavior, as well as how we organize our teams to ensure we continue to provide our expertise, products and services in the best way possible.”

According to Farrell, the recent layoffs are further evidence of the uncertainty, rising costs and shifting priorities many corporate leaders are trying to navigate right now.

"I think a lot of management teams right now are saying, 'Look, let's be cautious', we don't know if there is going to be a recession, but their costs have gone up," Farrell said. "That's a part of the supply chain that we've talked about in the past, and the higher inflation and we have higher wages, so it's simply more expensive these days to be running your company. Right now, if there is a management mantra it's, 'Caution, keep our costs down and don't take any big bets right now.'"

Despite that caution, Farrell says he's also not betting on big layoff numbers overall. 

"There just simply is a shortage of labor," he said. "So people are still holding on to workers more than they would. They are going to hire workers who are getting laid off and I think that's why it has this fundamentally different feel than it has in previous times when you have a number of industries starting to lay off workers."


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