No firm indication if or when the plant will reopen; 171 to be laid off
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – According to a release from its corporate headquarters, Siemens-Gamesa in Fort Madison will be laying off the remainder of its workforce, about 170 employees.
The move comes on the heels of a February layoff of about 32% of the workforce.
The layoffs continue to be a result of patent competition and the market for windblades.
Lee County Economic Development Director Dennis Fraise said Lee County EDG will be working closely with Siemens officials and IowaWorks to help the workforce.
“We will be working closely with Siemens leadership and IowaWorks to help the displaced workers,” Fraise wrote in a note to Pen City Current Friday.
“We’re optimistic that our Siemens facility, and the one in Kansas will reopen. Layoffs are always difficult for the workers and our community.”
Officials at the company’s headquarters, now in Spain, have indicated the plant could reopen if market conditions improve.
Plans now are to close the plant, which manufactures windblades for wind turbines, in June of this year. All employees are being offered severance packages following the layoffs.
“We continue to pursue new orders and remain fully committed to finding a path in support of our Fort Madison and Hutchinson manufacturing facilities,” Shannon Sturgil, CEO of Onshore North America, wrote in the release.
The Hutchinson, Kansas facility produces the nacelles for the turbines. It is unclear whether the plants will reopen or not.
Employees were notified at plant meetings early Friday morning. A small staff will remain on hand for maintenance issues after the closing and to assist in getting the facility back online if and when a decision is made to reopen.