Aug 13, 2012 8:10 PM by David Ortiviz
Bad news for Pueblo's 15th largest employer. Vestas Wind Energy Plant laid off dozens of workers. This comes less than three years after the company first opened courtesy of millions in city tax incentives.
Vestas had about 450-workers, but this morning they let go about 90 employees. The company, which has production plants worldwide, says these cuts were necessary because the wind was taken out of the wind energy market.
One employee tells us Vestas called everyone in and pulled people aside to tell them they were being let go.
"They're giving them a severance to help them get through the situation but it's pretty sad that they have to lose their jobs," said John Montoya, a Vestas worker.
Vestas manufactures wind towers. The Pueblo plant started production in the fall of 2009 and received $11.4 million in city tax incentives to build here, but that came with the agreement they would hire 450-workers.
With these layoffs, the city says Vestas will have to pay back some of that money.
"I really want to stress in a deal like this the tax payers are protected and the way that works if a company, in this case Vestas, misses the employment goal that they have, then on a quarterly basis they have to pay back into that half cent sales tax fund," said Jack Rink, with the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation.
Vestas says it offered severance agreements to all affected employees.