The Covidien plant in Hobart is cutting an unspecified number of jobs, a corporate spokeswoman said Monday.

The manufacturer, which has 700 employees at the local plant, cannot reveal how many jobs are being eliminated until all employees are notified, which is expected to be by the end of this week, spokeswoman Erica Abbett said. Employees are being notified individually about cuts, she said.

"As part of our effort to control costs at our facility and align our operations with customer demand, we are eliminating some hourly and salaried positions at our manufacturing plant in Hobart," Abbett said. "We are taking this action now to sustain the business in the future."

The non-union plant manufactures pharmaceutical products.

Abbett said criteria to determine who is let go are based on an employee's disciplinary record and attendance for hourly workers, and on performance, skills and disciplinary record for salaried employees.

Terminated workers will be provided with information about a separation agreement, a confidential personnel matter, Abbett said, and they will have opportunities to apply for other jobs in the company.

An hourly worker, who requested anonymity, said he was let go in the workforce reduction after more than eight years at the plant. He knew of another worker who was cut and heard of a third, he said, but didn't have a chance to go to the production area before or after he was laid off.

Covidien's cuts will "hit the area hard," he said.

The official workforce cuts started Monday, he said; however, he estimated the plant had about 750 workers last year, a level that has been reduced by firings to about 650, he said.

It seems those being laid off, including himself, are good performers but higher-wage earners, he said.

"It's all politics," he said.

Covidien could have found other ways to be competitive, such as adjusting shifts or working with the state Department of Labor to preserve jobs, he said.

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