Justice ‘not going to turn loose’ of pending Viatris closure

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday public officials are continuing to explore possible opportunities for the Viatris manufacturing facility as nearly 1,500 workers face losing their jobs.

Layoffs are slated to begin July 31 and continue through next March as Viatris focuses on moving its operations to overseas facilities. Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer subsidiary Upjohn merged into Viatris in November 2020, and the new company announced the layoffs the following month.

“I am absolutely not going to turn loose of the Mylan situation until we have flipped every stone,” Justice said during Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing. “I am too hardheaded to give up.”

Both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature passed resolutions earlier this year calling on elected officials and labor organizations to prevent the plant’s closure. Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, has proposed dedicating $25 million in coronavirus relief money for incentivizing a company to Morgantown.

Justice noted Tuesday the state has offered funding to encourage a company to use the facility.

“Everybody knows how hard everybody is trying, and everybody is trying everything in the world,” the governor said.

“We hold out real hope for a pharmaceutical company that we’re working with. We hold out real hope for other leads our Commerce department are working with.”

Justice said West Virginia’s federal lawmakers are also exploring how to protect the Viatris jobs to be cut.

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