Layoffs at Fort Madison plant to have economic impact

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 6:51 PM CDT
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FORT MADISON, Iowa (WGEM) - More than 170 people will be out of work in Lee County this June and July.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Inc. announced back in February it is temporarily suspending operations.

It used to be the largest employer in Fort Madison according to economic developers. But, they have lost many employees over the years.

“I’ve had a real good time there. I worked with a lot of good people. I had seen some people come and go but you’re gonna have that at any factory,” said employee Don Horton.

Horton is one worker that will be losing his job at the end of July.

The company stated that the shutdown was a result of a competitor lawsuit in the last quarter of 2021, as well as delays in Onshore Market anticipating new U.S. climate legislation.

An additional 92 workers in Hutchinson, Kansas will be out of work at the end of July.

Fort Madison Partners Executive Director Tim Gobble said the layoffs could lead to other businesses in the area filling jobs.

“There might be some of those individuals that might want to take down time and enjoy some of the unemployment options that they have available to them, but the industries that are looking for people hopefully this will help out filling those positions,” Gobble said.

Gobble hopes those who lose their jobs stay to live and work in the Fort Madison area.

“There is some other tie, not necessarily to their job but could be a spouse that will keep them here and but if they have to find employment elsewhere, we do wish them the best,” Gobble said.

Horton plans to take a summer vacation before he decides what’s next for him.

“I do plan on taking a little break, maybe the summer off, draw some unemployment from that and maybe see what comes around in august,” Horton said.

Siemens said the company will be providing separation packages, including benefits, severance pay and career counseling for those losing their jobs.

Gobble said he expects many employees to stay in the Lee County area due to having a spouse or family there.

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