Biden urged to act on outsourcing of West Virginia jobs
Dozens of labor and advocacy groups on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to save nearly 1,500 jobs at a pharmaceutical plant in West Virginia scheduled to close at the end of July. Drugmaker Viatris Inc. announced in December it will lay off workers at the Morgantown plant, formerly operated by the generic drug company Mylan.
- United States
Drugmaker Viatris Inc. announced in December it will lay off workers at the Morgantown plant, formerly operated by the generic drug company Mylan. Upjohn and Mylan merged last year to form the new company, which announced it would slash 20 percent of its workforce worldwide. Viatris is now one of the world's dominant manufacturers in the generics industry, which has been consolidating for years.
The moves left workers scrambling to find new jobs as the major employer left West Virginia, a state that is often trying to lure new companies to uplift its stagnant economy.
It also asks Biden to convene a task force of labor groups, local leaders, and others to determine how the plant might continue producing pharmaceutical or medical goods.
"Once a new strategy is in place that aligns the plant's physical assets with our national interests, the plant can be retrofitted as needed and current workers can be rehired," the letter to the president said.
Viatris spokeswoman Jennifer Mauer issued a statement that "the decision to cease operations at Chestnut Ridge as part of a global, multi-site restructuring initiative was one we did not take lightly and in no way reflects upon the company's appreciation for the commitment, work ethic, and valuable contributions of our employees." She added the company's intent has been to provide "generous comprehensive severance packages" for those being let go.
Some industry groups have lobbied for enhancing the US pharmaceutical supply chain. The Association for Accessible Medicine in April 2020 proposed a blueprint for the federal government to establish a list of essential medicines for the US and expand domestic production.
But the loss of the Morgantown plant won't have a major impact on domestic production of generic medicine, said Rachel Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the Association for Accessible Medicine. Our Revolution's letter to Biden said the Morgantown workers include union members, researchers and scientists "who together can produce more than 18 billion doses of life-saving generic drugs each year." But Schwartz said nearly 150 manufacturing sites remain nationwide, together producing more than 60 billion of generic medicine doses annually.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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- Defense Production Act
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- Joe Biden
- Our Revolution
- Jennifer Mauer
- West Virginia
- Drugmaker Viatris Inc.
- Bernie Sanders
- the Association for Accessible Medicine