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Siemens Announces Layoffs

One of Lee County’s largest employers will drastically reduce its workforce before the end of the year.

Siemens Energy has announced plans to lay off more than 600 employees from several facilities in the United States.

Spokesperson Melanie Forbrick says that includes just over 400 from the wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison.

She says most of the impacted employees will continue to work through mid-November.  A few could remain on the job longer as they finish up projects.

Siemens says the decision by Congress to not extend the wind energy production tax credit beyond the end of the year has created a great deal of uncertainty for the wind industry.

Forbrick says that is not the only reason, though, for the restructuring.  She cites the low cost of natural gas and the recession limiting the demand for energy.

Forbrick says if the wind industry rebounds, employees could be called back to work.

For now, though, those who lose their jobs will receive a separation package that includes career counseling, job placement assistance and in some cases, severance pay.

Forbrick says after the restructuring is complete, there will still be more than 200 workers at the Fort Madison plant, which opened its doors more than 5 years ago.

The rest of the layoffs will occur at facilities in Hutchison, Kansas and Orlando, Florida.

The news comes just days after Iowa Fertilizer Company announced plans to build a production plant that would eventually employ 165 full-time employees.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.