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Siemens in Fort Madison announces layoff of more than 200 employees

FORT MADISON, Iowa - More than 200 employees won't be walking through the doors of the Siemens Gamesa in Fort Madison on Thursday morning.

"You hope that the businesses and industries in town are just humming along and everything's going great and so when you get kind of a little gut check when you find out there's gonna be layoffs and then you find out the sheer number of 200 people, that's almost is half the workforce there," said Brad Randolph, Mayor of Fort Madison.

On Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 the company announced its laying off 202 employees.

According to a company spokesperson, "business volume at this location through the 2018 fiscal year does not support the existing workforce level."

"The ripple effect from losing 200 jobs when you talk about employment taxes, and just those moneys that come back into the community, it's a big deal and something we need to focus on and pay attention to," said Randolph.

Back in 2006 when the plant first came to the area it was a big boost to the economy, prior to the company coming Lee County had the highest unemployment rate in the state.

"I've done 30 years with Iowa Workforce Development so I've seen the good times and the bad times and it hurts," said Rich Harlow, Fort Madison resident.

People in the community feel for those 200-plus employees who are out of a job.

"It's definitely a blow to Lee County and southeast Iowa, we are very hopeful that new contracts will happen with Siemens worldwide company," said Harlow.

A company spokesperson said, "They are currently retooling the factories to accommodate product lines. With these capital investments and expected increased delivery schedules we do anticipate some employee recalls later this year."

"At this point all we can do is be supportive of the displaced families first and supportive of the company, Siemens and hopefully it will right their ship and be able to bring some of those workers back," said Randolph.

For now, it's a tough blow with a third of the plant's workforce not able to go back.

A company spokesperson says it will provide employees with a severance package, career counseling and job placement assistance.

Randolph also tells News 8 the city could see an impact on tax revenues, it has a "TIF"agreement with Siemens that may also be impacted by this layoff.