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Viatris, United Steelworkers announce severance agreement for workers losing Morgantown plant jobs July 31

MORGANTOWN – Viatris and the United Steelworkers union separately announced Friday that they have reached a severance agreement regarding the closure of the former Mylan pharmaceutical plant on Chestnut Ridge Road.

USW Local 8-957 represents 850 of the 1,431 plant employees who will be laid off or separated.

USW Vice President of Human Affairs Fred Redmond said in the union’s release, “Closing this plant is a tragic decision, and we fought hard to get these hard workers an agreement that reflects their years of dedication and service.” Redmond also leads the union’s health care bargaining. “We will continue fighting for these members and their community and do everything we can to ease the burden of this transition.”

The agreement includes severance pay and other benefits for workers who will lose their jobs July 31, when the facility is set to close, USW said. Viatris announced the closure last December. USW said it has been negotiating terms since March.

Viatris’ WARN notice issued in May indicates Viatris intends to keep a skeleton crew at the plant through March 31, 2022. The initial July 31 separation will involve 482 non-union workers and 764 union workers — a total of 1,246 — leaving 185. Further separations are expected Aug. 31, Oct. 31, Dec. 31 and next March 31.

Viatris said in its release that the agreement includes a “generous severance package provided by Viatris that contains pay and benefits.”

Viatris said, “As we stated in December, the decision to cease operations at Chestnut Ridge as part of a global, multi-site restructuring initiative was one we did not take lightly and in no way reflects upon the company’s appreciation for the commitment, work ethic and valuable contributions of our employees.

“Therefore, it has always been our intent to provide generous comprehensive severance packages for all of those impacted in an effort to help ease the transition for them and their families. We especially appreciate all those with long and respected tenures who helped pave the way for the company’s growth in its early years.

“We remain committed to treating those impacted fairly and with respect as we also continue to work with West Virginia public officials and others to try to identify viable alternatives for the site outside of the company’s network.”

Neither side offered details of the agreement. Some members, not authorized to reveal terms and speaking not for attribution said they felt the agreement was “paltry” and not what they wanted, but the best the union believed it could get.

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