WEST READING, Pa. – It’s a dark day for more than 1,200 workers in Berks County and beyond, as two major employers announce layoffs. ‘
About 1,000 workers have been laid off by West Reading-based Tower Health, and another 233 are losing their jobs at Wyomissing-based Penn National Gaming.
Tower Health is known for helping to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s not immune from the financial burden the virus has reigned down. The health network is eliminating the maternity ward at Pottstown Hospital in Montgomery County and closing or consolidating several outpatient units at Reading Hospital in West Reading. Those include behavioral health services, and occupational and sports medicine.
Tower Health’s CEO, Clint Matthews, said in a statement: “The decision to reduce our workforce has been difficult and painful, because it impacts lives. It is necessary, however, to ensure that Tower Health can continue to serve the community with high-quality healthcare in the months and years ahead.”
The health network said affected employees will receive a severance package.
Jim Gerlach, the president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, told 69 News in a statement:
“As the second largest employment sector in Berks County, the shedding of 1,000 jobs at Tower Health is incredibly sad for our community. While we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has left many companies reeling, this latest blow to the local economy is further proof that Berks County needs to reopen safely and efficiently. If that does not happen, the ripple effect could prove to be even more damaging to our recovery efforts.
In partnership with the Berks County Commissioners, GRCA will continue to support the Berks County business community through the Rebuilding Berks initiative. This initiative offers free training, financial resources and will feature a marketing campaign that asks companies and consumers to source and buy local. We are hopeful that the community supports this effort and Berks County will thrive once again.”
Meanwhile, at Penn National Gaming, some of the 233 corporate jobs being cut are at the Wyomissing office. The others are at an office in Las Vegas. The layoffs are expected to be permanent and are set to take effect in August.