IEDA Facilitates Conversation Between Iowa Fertilizer Co. and Union Representatives

Written by Theresa Rose on May 12, 2015

May 12, 2015 (Des Moines) – Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), facilitated a productive conversation between leaders at the Iowa Fertilizer Co. (IFCo) and building trade representatives last Friday. Both parties had the opportunity to share their perspective and concerns after a recent change of subcontractors working on the project.
Shawn Rana, president of Iowa Fertilizer, said “Iowa Fertilizer has been investing in Iowa throughout the construction phase of the project. In fact, since construction began on the Iowa Fertilizer plant, Lee County’s unemployment rate has decreased from 11 percent in 2011 to under six percent in March of 2015. Further, Iowa Fertilizer committed to hiring 165 permanent positions in Iowa; to date, 195 permanent employees have been hired. Recently, Iowa Fertilizer’s Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractor reassigned work from a San Francisco-based contractor to multiple contractors – including one of the eight Iowa-based contractors on-site today. The contractor who received the largest share of the work is a Davenport, Iowa-based union contractor. The subcontractors who received the reassigned work are now in place and have been ramping up to rehire the skilled tradesmen that are critical to the construction work at the facility. By the completion of the project, we anticipate that 78 percent of the project will have been completed by union workers. Although it is outside Iowa Fertilizer and the EPC contractor’s control, at this stage, the EPC contractor expects the number of Iowa-based temporary workers after the reassignment of subcontractors to meet, if not exceed, the number of temporary Iowa-based workers before the reassignment.”
Ryan Drew, the president of the Southeast Iowa Building and Construction Trades Council, also commented on the meeting. “We appreciated the opportunity to meet with IFCo representatives — to both thank them for their long-term investment in Iowa’s skilled workforce and to talk with them about how even more local union tradesmen and women can return to the Wever jobsite, under the employment of the new subcontractors. We look forward to continuing an open dialogue with IFCo. The building trades have invested heavily in training and apprenticeship programs to ensure companies like OCI NV, the parent company of IFCo, and others that are considering future investments in our state have access to the skilled workers they need to successfully complete their projects in Iowa.”