February 20, 2019

Layoffs expected at GlobalFoundries

Cioffi: ‘They might be hiring in other areas’

GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction. File photo by Sam Heller/VTDigger

By Alexandre Silberman

For VTDigger

GlobalFoundries announced plans last week to begin a worldwide workforce reduction of 5 percent, with the goal of minimizing redundancies from prior mergers.

Spokesperson Steve Grasso declined to specify the impact of layoffs at the compay’s Essex site. The plant currently has about 2,500 employees. A 5 percent cut would mean 125 workers could lose their jobs.

The semiconductor manufacturer, which makes chips for cellphones and other electronic devices, acquired the site from IBM in 2015.

In a statement, GlobalFoundries said a significant portion of job losses will come from a “voluntary separation program.”

The reduction is “designed to improve our global cost structure and minimize redundancies that have accrued from previous mergers and acquisitions,” the statement said. “A workforce reduction is challenging for any organization and we do not take this action lightly. We are confident that these changes will position us to build a solid foundation for sustainable growth and continue investing for the future.”

Meanwhile, the company is simultaneously advertising job openings. A “We Are Hiring” banner is hanging on its sign along Route 2A in Essex.

“I think GlobalFoundries is doing really well here,” said Frank Cioffi, president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, which focuses on economic and workforce development in Chittenden County. “If they have layoffs, they might be hiring in other areas.”

GlobalFoundries is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and owned by the investment firm Mubadala, which is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

The company has manufacturing facilities in Singapore, Germany and upstate New York.

Cioffi said laid-off employees should be optimistic about their opportunities in the Vermont job market.

“We never like to see anybody get laid off or lose their job, but the labor market is doing well here,” he said. “If you want to work and have decent skills, you are going to be able to find a position. There are thousands of jobs.”

Michael Harrington, the Vermont Department of Labor’s deputy commissioner, said the state has not received a formal notice from GlobalFoundries about layoffs, but has been in discussions with company executives.

“We have talked with them, and we have told them that we’re here to support them in whatever they need,” Harrington said.

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