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Why The Flyover (WTF) Merck? - Chop the Chopper and End the Corporate Bus Now!

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In 2009 Merck & Co. purchased the Kenilworth based Schering Plough Corporation. As part of their corporate transition plan to “link” their various sites between Rahway, White House Station, and Pennsylvania, Merck submitted an application to the Kenilworth Planning Board in 2010 for the construction of 83 foot high Heliport for the sole purposes of travel for top “Merck Executives” such as Merck CEO Ken Frazier (Kenilworth Planning Board Minutes) and former CEO Richard T. Clark. (CBS Money Watch February 1, 2010)

Additionally according to a CBS Money Watch February 1, 2010 report Merck's justification for the use of the helicopter is as follows:

The Company believes that this benefit provides better security for executives and allows executives to devote additional time to Merck business.

And additional time to their spouses, who fly for free with them, Merck disclosed:

An executive's spouse may accompany the executive, in which case the spouse's personal use of the aircraft is considered a personal benefit to the executive.

Testimony before the Kenilworth Planning Board included an examination of “acoustics” (sound) by Merck’s engineer using the largest business helicopters – Sikorsky S-76, as an example. According to Merck documents – they currently own three helicopters, one of which is a Sikorsky S76C++, estimated price of $7.9 million and can transport 12 passengers. Additionally approximate allowance for top executives for commuting is over $30,000 per year. (CBS Money Watch)

Ironically, none of the testing sites in the acoustics study by Merck included any in locations Roselle Park. A Merck official said “the sound of a helicopter is comparable to a truck driving by.” (Planning Board Minutes page 16) What wasn't taken into account was the fact many quiet neighborhood streets impacted by the helicopter flight rarely or never experience truck traffic. What Merck officials also failed to testify was that the use of a helicopter as a mode of transportation is in stark contrast to their sustainability objective in cutting the carbon footprint.

Part of Merck's application included a flight plan which cuts directly through neighborhoods in Roselle Park. Unfortunately, on January 28, 2010, the Kenilworth Planning Board approved the construction of the Heliport that set the stage of morning, evening and weekend flights to and from Corporate Campuses and Corporate Commuting to and from CEO Ken Frazier and Merck Executive homes.

Now in 2015, residents of Roselle Park, Kenilworth and surrounding areas are now experiencing the full effects of an active heliport with flyovers mostly occurring in the morning and evening.

While Merck's CEO and his top executives enjoy helicopter travel in the lap of luxury, rank and file employees which made the former Schering Plough and now Merck the great pharmaceuticals in the world, live under the constant fear of layoffs, outsourcing, and corporate campus shutdowns.

Touted as the “repeat chart-topper, ” Merck is the #1 Top largest pharmaceutical company for layoffs in 2013 and 2011. Merck has hurt New Jersey’s economy by shutting down their Whitehouse Station and Summit campus slashing nearly 40,000 jobs. ( – January 2014)

But that doesn’t stop CEO Ken Frazier and his Executive Elite from purchasing “Corporate Bus” helicopters to bring them from meetings home and work. They leave a trail of noise pollution 7 days a week through Roselle Park and surrounding communities without any regard for the peace and quite of Merck's "neighbors."

While the costs continue to rise for pharmaceuticals, the “Corporate Bus” continues to rise – over the heads and homes of the residents of Roselle Park and surrounding communities. Ironically, former Schering Plough Corporation executives commuted by car. Schering also employed a Government Relations officer to inform communities and build relationships with local, county and state officials. Often it was this office that provided the lines of communication between the communities and corporate offices making Schering Plough a "good neighbor."

We, the residents of Roselle Park and surrounding communities insist on the following:

CEO Ken Frazier explain “Why The Flyover?” when for years former Schering Plough Corporation never needed or requested helicopter transportation and lived up to its “Good Neighbor Policy with the surrounding communities?”

CEO Ken Frazier explain why he and his Corporate Executives can’t commute to work and meetings like the many Merck employees and every day middle class citizens.

CEO Ken Frazier live up to his corporate cut-back policies and End the Corporate Bus Helicopter and use the savings to create jobs and help the local economy.

CEO Ken Frazier live up to Merck's sustainability objective in cutting the carbon footprint by eliminating helicopter mode of transportation and improve the environment.

End the Corporate Bus Helicopter and return the “good neighbor” policy it had with its surrounding communities.

Re-establish the Local Government Affairs positions, previously held by Schering Plough, to build relationships with the surrounding communities by keeping them informed and working with local government officials and community organizations.

Resolutions be adopted by the affected municipalities, county, state and federal government and support of our efforts eliminate the Helicopter noise pollution, maintain peace and quiet, protect property values.

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