MORGANTOWN – Within minutes of the announcement on Friday, of Viatris plans to shutdown the former Mylan Pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant by July, 31, 2021, officials in Monongalia County were already looking at options to assist the roughly 1,500 employees affected, both in the short and in the long term.
“I’m reaching out to all employers, from WVU Hospitals to Mon Health to see if there are positions open and see what other businesses we can bring in,” Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom stated on WAJR’s Talk of the Town with Dave & Sarah.
The closure of the Morgantown facility is part of a global restructuring for Viatris, aimed at cutting $1 billion in costs by the end of 2024. Morgantown’s plant was part of the company’s oral dose manufacturing facilities. Other such facilities in Baldoyle, Ireland and Caguas, Puerto Rico are also slated to be closed.
“They (the employees) are an integral part of Monongalia County. They are our coaches, their kids go to our schools and they’re involved,” said Bloom. “People think Morgantown, Monongalia County and Mylan.”
Local elected officials did not have any advanced notice of the announcement and learned of the news for the first time Friday morning but were not surprised by the announcement from the newly formed company that result from the merger between Mylan and Upjohn that closed earlier this year.
“It’s hard to live here and not know someone who works for Mylan or has a family member or spouse who works for Mylan,” Morgantown Mayor Ron Dulaney said.
Brainstorming included short-term options such as job fairs for affected employees to seeking an audience with Governor Jim Justice to discuss long-term concepts to offset the loss of Mylan in Monongalia County.
Mayor Dulaney was also on the phone with the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce and others to start the process of moving forward as a community.
“We’re already communicating. We obviously don’t have a plan yet, but there is a strong desire to move on from this,” stated Dulaney.
At the state level, 51st District Delegate John Williams believes his participation with a legislative work group called “The New Economy” just took on a larger significance.
“Looking at ways to attract large urban areas, to relocate their business to Morgantown and the eastern panhandle. I think the importance of the legislation that will be a byproduct of that group has just increased tenfold this morning,” Williams explained.
Commissioner Bloom, mentioned officials are hopeful there will be an announcement in the coming weeks of a new company locating in Monongalia County that could help offset some of the job losses that will result from Friday’s announcement but wants to attract more employers to the area.
“We now have this great working population that is ready to jump in, what can we do?” Bloom said.
Each of the elected officials agreed, it will take a collective effort among all the entities in the county to overcome the gut-wrenching announcement.
“If we do it together, we can get through this,” according to Bloom.