WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Loebsack Concerned About Plant Workers

May 7, 2015

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA2) said Wednesday afternoon that he's keeping an eye on the ongoing labor dispute at the site of Iowa Fertilizer Company's new production plant near Wever.  He said he's concerned about the fact that Iowans were laid off when a new subcontractor was hired last month.

Loebsack said IFC should try to ensure that Iowans finish construction on the roughly $1.8-billion plant, not out-of-state workers.

"As far as I’m concerned, that’s the most important thing, to make sure we have Iowans hired," said Rep. Loebsack.  "And that when folks get let go, they get put back on the job, that’s absolutely critical."

When the subcontractor was replaced, it led to the plant shutting down for a weekend and hundreds of employees being laid off.

There have been reports that replacements are being sought in Texas.

Debi Durham with the Iowa Economic Development Authority has said the use of out-of-state workers would not impact the financial incentives offered to Iowa Fertilizer Company to locate in Iowa.

Loebsack said while some federal dollars are involved, he believes this is more of an issue for the state at this point.  He said he doesn't have anything planned during a visit to southeast Iowa regarding the plant.

Iowa Fertilizer Company has said the plant should be operational before the end of the year.