POCA, W.Va. — Teamsters Local 175 said Monday it is developing a strategy in response to Rite Aid’s announcement that it will close its longtime distribution center in Poca within two years eliminating 230 jobs.
Local 175 President Ken Hall said Rite Aid has been dishonest with the union. He said the company expressed concerns about health insurance costs, worker attendance and productivity. Hall said the union had a plan to meet all of those concerns but when they approached the company during the latest round of contract talks Rite Aid responded with the closure announcement.
“They backed off and said, ‘We’re going to close.'”
Rite Aid said the building housing the distribution center is old and outdated and it would cost too much to bring it up to date. The company said it can operate more efficiently by closing the facility. It plans to lay off the workers between now and 2016.
Hall said the average worker has been there for more than 20 years. He said many are single mothers. He said it’s tough news to take. He believes state residents should send the company a message.
“If you want to continue to rake in millions of dollars in profits in the state of West Virginia you ought to be willing to take care of 230 long-term employees,” he said.
Rite Aid has 104 stores in West Virginia and a license to operate state liquor establishments in those stores.
Hall said the state Development Office has offered to help Rite Aid find a new location for the distribution center but the company was not cooperative.