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Mylan announces layoffs, about 500 affected

MORGANTOWN — Mylan on Friday April 20 announced layoffs affecting about 15 percent of its Morgantown workforce, primarily in operations.

Mylan spokeswoman Christine Waller said the current workforce is about 3,500, and after the layoffs it will stand at about 3,000. “Following the layoffs, we will remain one of the largest employers in West Virginia,” she said.

Howard Martin, president of United Steel Workers Local 8-957, which represents the workers, said the layoff affected 400 bargaining unit members.

The layoffs, Waller said, are tied to “rightsizing” the plant, which was built out over the decades, Waller said.

Mylan elaborated on that in a statement: “We believe our plant in Morgantown is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in the world. As the industry has changed and regulatory expectations have continued to evolve, we’ve realized that our Morgantown plant needed to be rightsized to be less complex.”

It continued, “The right-sizing is consistent with discussions we are having with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is necessary in order to position the site as best we can for continued operations. We remain committed to a U.S. manufacturing base and plan to continue making the majority of the medicines we supply to the U.S in the U.S.”

Asked if reports tying the layoffs to FDA inspections of the plant — as mentioned in a Friday story on a union meeting regarding the layoffs — were correct, Waller said the action is focused on the size and complexity of the site.

The layoffs are effective immediately, Waller said.

The union held a mandatory meeting on the topic Friday morning. Martin elaborated on the news later in the afternoon.

Union leadership and Mylan are working to finalize a voluntary separation program to offset some of the layoffs, he said. They hope to have it wrapped up to present to the members next week.

They’ve never had a layoff here before, he said, so they’re busy working through details and questions.

The union is also working with WorkForce West Virginia to set up information meetings regarding job search, unemployment filing and educational training, he said. “We’re just trying to work our way through this.”

Mylan concluded its statement saying, “For nearly 60 years, Mylan has been a proud corporate citizen in West Virginia, and we remain so today. Mylan’s commitment to its employees and the community is to ensure that our company remains built to last and always positioned to serve patient needs as effectively as possible.”

This was the third round of recent layoffs for Mylan. Global restructuring led to the start of a 10 percent workforce reduction in December 2016, which was continued in November 2017. In 2016, Mylan employed more than 40,000 people at more than 50 facilities around the globe. Mylan’s fact sheet in November 2017 — still posted on its website — put the total at more than 35,000.

The Dominion Post contacted Rep. David McKinley and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin — Manchin’s daughter, Heather Bresch, is the Mylan CEO — for comment on the layoffs.

Capito did not respond. McKinley and Manchin supplied comments via email.

McKinley wrote, “We’re a little disappointed by this decision. Not only did they not give any heads up that this was a possibility, but they’ve been incredibly vague on the details; citing an issue with the FDA. We have a fantastic working relationship with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, and could have offered assistance had we been notified of any issue. Anytime a constituent comes to us with an issue before a federal agency, we do everything within our power to help find a resolution.”

Manchin wrote, “Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ announcement that they will be laying off employees is terribly disappointing for not only the hardworking employees and their families in Morgantown, but for our entire state. For the employees and families who will be affected most by this decision, my staff and I stand ready to assist in any way possible. West Virginians are the hardest working people in the country and I will continue to fight for economic opportunities.”