Siemens Energy to cut 407 jobs at Fort Madison facility - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Siemens Energy to cut 407 jobs at Fort Madison facility

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FORT MADISON, Ia. (WGEM) -

Siemens Energy Inc. says that it will lay off 407 workers at its facility in Ft. Madison, around two thirds of the workforce.

Siemens spokesperson Melanie Forbrick says around 220 workers will be retained in Ft. Madison. The layoffs will not take effect before Nov. 19.    

Forbrick says the company took an evaluation of the functional categories of the wind turbine plant and many of the workers laid off will be based on a "last in, first out basis."

The wind energy equipment manufacturer says it will lay off a total of 615 workers in Iowa, Kansas and Florida in part because Congress has not renewed a tax credit for wind energy. Fort Madison Partners Executive Director Tim Gobble says they will work to find new jobs for these employees.

"It's going to be a wait and see type of thing, but we're working with the different agencies to make sure everyone is taken care of and that we get everybody back to work as soon as we can," he said.

Siemens opened the Fort Madison facility in 2007 with 230 employees and grew to over 700 employees in September 2011, during a time the plant celebrated its 5,000th turbine blade being shipped.

The facility was a feature stop for President Barack Obama during his "White House to Main Street" tour in April 2010.

(See "President focuses on wind energy, creating jobs in Fort Madison")

Read the full statement from Siemens below:

Full Statement:  Siemens Energy, Inc. to Restructure its U.S. Wind Power Business in Response to Uncertain and Changing Market Conditions

As has been widely communicated throughout the wind power industry, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for new wind turbine installations, the current trend toward more natural gas based power generation due to record low natural gas prices and still lingering recession impacts on energy demand growth, are casting a shadow on the short-term future of the entire U.S. wind power industry. As a result, following the rapid ramp-up of the wind power industry over the past five years, the industry is facing a significant drop in new orders, and this has an unfortunate consequence on employment in this segment of the power industry.
 
We have worked very hard to manage the consequences of the market conditions, all of which are beyond our control and are affecting the entire wind power industry. Now, we have had to make the difficult decision to adjust the manufacturing, projects and administrative support functions of our wind power operations to reflect the current and projected business volume. This will affect approximately 615 of our workforce in our wind power business. 
 
These decisions are never easy and Siemens understands the impact this has on employees and the Ft. Madison community. This business decision was necessary to properly size the business until the market demand normalizes at a more traditional level of 3-5 GW – or 1,500-2,500 wind turbine units -- in the mid-term. All affected employees will be provided with a comprehensive package, which includes severance pay for permanent employees with at least six months of service, benefits continuation, career counseling, resume preparation and job placement assistance. 
 
Over the past five years, Siemens has invested $100 million in building its wind power production facilities in the U.S. In that time, we have grown to more than 1,650 employees who have been busy manufacturing, installing and servicing over 3,900 wind turbines across the country, representing enough electricity to power more than 1.75 million average households. We believe in a sustainable wind power industry in the U.S. We remain committed to maintaining our U.S. factories and will continue to support the U.S. industry as well as export wind turbine components to markets across the Americas. 
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