MILTON, W.Va. -- About 90 warehouse workers in the Milton area may lose their jobs in April.
SuperValu Inc., the company that provides groceries and products to Save-A-Lot grocery stores, notified members of Teamsters Local 175 last Monday that it plans to close its warehouse in Milton sometime in April.
In a Jan. 17 letter to members of the House of Delegates, Ken Hall, president of Local 175, wrote, "The closing will result in the loss of nearly 100 good-paying West Virginia jobs, of which 60 are covered by a Teamster contract.
"The wage rates range from $17 to a little over $21 per hour, in addition to health care and pension benefits," wrote Hall, who is also international secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters.
Contacted Saturday afternoon, Luke Friedrich, a spokesman for SuperValu at its corporate headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn., said, "Decisions like this are never easy and are not a reflection of the work or contributions of the team at the Milton distribution center.
"This is a business change that is necessary to ensure our company is better positioned for long-term success," Friedrich said.
"My first concern," Hall wrote in his letter, "obviously is for the devastating effect on the workers and their families.
"The average age of the unionized workforce is 57 years old with an average of 30 years of service with the company. The closing is also a significant blow to the local economy as well as to the state of West Virginia," Hall wrote.
SuperValu has indicated it plans to move the majority of the work now done at the Milton warehouse to another warehouse located in New Stanton, Pa., outside Pittsburgh.
"I do not believe this was a well thought-out plan," Hall continued. "The Milton warehouse has historically been recognized as an efficient operation.
"I believe that with the cooperation of our local, county, state and federal government leaders that it is indeed possible to persuade SuperValu to reverse their decision," Hall wrote.
SuperValu, in its official announcement last Monday, stated that it "plans to consolidate its Milton distribution center business into its New Stanton/Pittsburgh distribution center. SuperValu regularly reviews its business in order to maximize efficiency."