One of Keokuk's largest employers is cutting its workforce by about 15%, according to Mayor Tom Marion.
"There have been rumors going around for a long time (about Roquette America)," said Marion. "My take is it doesn't help (the city) because we have already had unemployment issues."
Marion said he met with representatives of the company Thursday morning to discuss the situation. He said he was told that about 85 employees would be let go, adding that they would be a mix of union and management-level workers.
"It's real tough to take in Keokuk because we don't need anymore laid off people," said Marion.
He is optimistic that the company will eventually be able to bring back the out-of-work employees or that they are hired by other local industries.
Marion said he was also told the company sold its private jet and is trying to sell an office building near the downtown district.
Roquette America released a statement regarding the situation.
It said the company is working to improve performance through a cost adjustment program. It said impacted employees will receive a severance package and assistance through Iowa Workforce Development.
There was no mention in the statement of the exact number of impacted workers, where they work in the plant, or when the layoffs will take effect/be completed.