With just a couple days left before the former Mylan plant in Morgantown closes for 1500 workers, news reports suggest that very little is being done to save the plant. Where are West Virginia’s senators? From In These Times reporter, Hamilton Nolan:
Ask Gouzd [president of the worker’s union] what he is hearing from his representatives in the federal government as the plant shutdown looms, and he’ll tell you, “Not a god damn thing.”
“We’ve heard nothing,” he says. “We’ve heard all kinds of horse shit from A to Z.”
This is a remarkable statement, when you consider that the closure of this one plant embodies an entire galaxy of issues that should make it a prime candidate for political intervention. It represents the often-lamented effect of offshoring: a decades-old factory whose jobs are being unceremoniously shipped overseas by the enormous conglomerate Viatris, which was formed in 2019 as the combination of Mylan and Upjohn and immediately set out to slash costs.
Senator Joe Manchin
On Friday, Vanity Fair's Katherine Eban further explained in this article:
"We Can't Reach Him": Joe Manchin Is Ghosting the West Virginia Union Workers Whose Jobs His Daughter Helped Outsource
As Eban writes:
This would seem to be the perfect fight for West Virginia’s senior U.S. senator, Joe Manchin III, a voluble champion of high-paying union jobs for the Mountain State’s workers. But when officials with the United Steelworkers Local 8-957 managed to get roughly two minutes of his time, over a video call he took from the U.S. Senate floor, there was no fight at all. “Sorry about your luck,” he told them, according to a union official and confirmed by five others who participated in the March 10 call. “It sounds like they’ve reached a corporate decision. There is very little I can do.”
A spokesperson for Senator Manchin vehemently denied this account of the call. In a statement to Vanity Fair, Manchin said, “For months, I have engaged in conversations with Viatris, Monongalia County, the Morgantown Area Partnership, and local and state leaders to find a solution that protects every single job.”
But union officials say they never heard anything from Manchin after their brief call. “We can’t reach him,” Joseph Gouzd, president of the local steelworker’s union, told me. “He won’t respond. His aides won’t respond.” Their repeated phone calls and requests for a meeting have gone unanswered.
Why? According to Eban:
Union officials believe that Manchin’s silence can be traced to the fact that his daughter Heather Bresch, the former CEO of Mylan, walked away with a $30.8 million golden parachute from the Mylan-Upjohn merger. The resulting entity, which so swiftly targeted the Morgantown plant for closure, is led by Bresch’s former Mylan colleagues, who were also exorbitantly compensated in the merger.
But instead of trying to save the plant, Biden officials appear to be tiptoeing around Manchin, who has emerged as a political kingmaker and hostage-taker in a U.S. Senate where Democrats hold a whisker-thin majority.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito
Here is Gouzd on Capito via the In These Times article:
Gouzd says that the politicians “are running away from us.” He dismisses West Virginia Republican Senator Shelly Moore Capito as an unresponsive “blowup doll.”
Why? Perhaps the Charleston Gazette-Mail inadvertently suggested a reason in a recent story about campaign contributions to the state’s representatives:
In the quarter ending June 30, Capito’s campaign drew contributions from political action committees representing Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. ($2,500), the New York-based Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball ($2,500), the Triangle, Virginia-based United Mine Workers of America ($2,500) and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based Viatris, Inc. ($2,500).
Interesting. We already knew about Exxon Mobil since she’s one of their bought and owned. Add Viatris.
So much for our senators fighting to save good-paying West Virginia jobs.