RITE Aid is the third largest employer in Putnam County, after the school board and the Toyota engine and transmission plant.
Workers at its warehouse at the Rock Branch Industrial Park near Poca have weathered several storms. The state gave the company $7.8 million in cheap loans and grants to open the facility only to have to battle to keep the warehouse open within a few years.
Years later, an accounting scandal led to the departure of several top executives, including vice chairman of the board Franklin C. Brown, who is serving a 10-year federal sentence, and CEO Marvin Grass who served six years in federal prison.
It takes a certain loyalty to stick to a company. This weekend members of Teamsters Local 175, which represents 220 workers at the warehouse, voted 182-5 to reject the company's latest offer.
But they also voted unanimously against a strike. The two sides will go back to the bargaining table and work on their contract.
What the union wants may surprise readers. Right now, workers get 100 percent health coverage. Ken Hall, president of the Teamsters local, doesn't think the workers will be able to keep that, Paul Nyden of the Gazette reported.
What they do want is Rite Aid to invest and modernize the facility.
"We need a new warehouse," Hall told Nyden. "The warehouse is outdated, losing efficiency. The company wants to make up for that by taking everything away from employees. Part of the solution is to fix the warehouse or build a new facility, maybe in a new location."
That is pretty forward thinking. Over the years, other companies have failed to keep up their plants in West Virginia, eventually closing them.
Rite Aid should give re-investment in the Putnam facility full consideration, not just because it will help the area or the state, but because it will mean job security for several hundred people who have been with the company through thick and thin.