Update: Clipper Windpower Confirms Layoff at Cedar Rapids Plant

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS - Clipper Windpower corporate officials have now confirmed earlier reports about a significant cutback at the Cedar Rapids production facility.

Employees at Clipper Windpower in Cedar Rapids reported the company layoff numbers earlier at 150 out of nearly 400 employees. However, Mary Gates, a Clipper corporate spokesperson, said the actual number of workers terminated on Tuesday was 90.

Gates did not have an exactly number of jobs lost in Cedar Rapids and the figure of 90 included workers in other parts of the country and overseas. But the majority of the cuts will come in production, so most of the job losses are centered in Cedar Rapids.

Those employees who contacted TV9 about the layoff say workers were called in for meetings this morning and given the news. One worker, who wouldn't give his name, said managers blamed the economy and credit crunch for creating financial difficulties for Clipper customers.

Gates told TV 9 that explanation is largely correct. A number of customers have had problems arranging financing and have deferred orders till future years.

The company began production in Cedar Rapids in 2005. Over the years, Clipper was a popular stop for politicians, including Iowa Governor Chet Culver, who frequently used the fast-growing company as a background to promote "green" energy and manufacturing in Iowa.

The most recent news about Clipper's Cedar Rapids facility, in August of 2008, was good news. That involved a deal to supply Wal-Mart facilities in Mexico with wind-powered generators and was portrayed as a deal that would keep the Cedar Rapids facility packed and productive for years.
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