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Caputo-Beach Senate resolution urges governor, D.C. delegation to work with Biden to keep Mylan plant operating

MORGANTOWN – The state Senate unanimously approved on Friday a resolution urging the governor and West Virginia’s Congressional delegation to form a task force to persuade President Biden to repurpose and save the soon-to-be closed Mylan plant.

Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, is lead sponsor of SR 22.

It says: “The Senate hereby urges the governor of West Virginia to form a task force with our congressional representatives, labor organizations, and other industry leaders to call upon the president of the United States to invoke the Defense Production Act of 1950, order the Morgantown plant at the Chestnut Ridge facility of the former Mylan Pharmaceuticals to be retrofitted and placed into production relating to the manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of critical, life-saving medical supplies including vaccinations, and empower the governor of West Virginia to save the lives of our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens.”

Caputo said, “December 11, 2020, was a very sad day for north-central West Virginia.”

That was the day Viatris – the new company formed by the merger of Mylan and Upjohn – announced the planned closure of its Morgantown production plant (its two other Morgantown sites will remain open), set for July 31.

The plant provided 1,500 good jobs, he said, with union positions paying $60,000 to $70,000 annually.

Now, he said, 1,500 families don’t know what the future holds for them. “Christmas of 2020 for those families was very bleak.”

But Mylan workers are flexible, he said. “Right now they could step up to the plate if they were allowed.” He explained the intent of the resolution to keep the workers working. “We need a lot of things to get this pandemic behind us.”

Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, co-sponsored SR 22. Mylan started in the trunk of a car, he said, and “grew into an institution that grew Morgantown,” combined with the health care industry. “They changed the landscape of Morgantown for the future of West Virginia.

“It’s unfortunate that this is the demise of a homegrown company right here in West Virginia,” he said.

At the very least, he said, maybe Viatris could be persuaded to put the plant back into use in some way.

Resolutions typically pass by voice vote but roll calls are used for resolutions of special import. This one was adopted 33-0. A copy will be forwarded to the governor.

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