IBM Layoffs Confirmed, Numbers Lower Than Last Year

Feb 27, 2014

Gov. Peter Shumlin said he received word from IBM officials that layoffs occurred Thursday at the company's Essex Junction plant.

Shumlin said in a statement that he was told the number of jobs eliminated is "about one-third" the number in the last round of layoffs at the facility, which would indicate about 140 employees are being let go. 

The company cut 419 jobs last year.  It’s estimated about 4,000 people work at IBM in Essex Junction. The facility once employed more than 8,000.

Vermont Commissioner of Labor Annie Noonan said the exact number of jobs cut may not be known immediately if the terminations don’t take effect for another 30 days. 

Noonan says there is job retraining and employment assistance available for displaced workers. 

The state will also ask the federal government to provide trade adjustment assistance to the laid off employees. The assistance is available when layoffs occur because of foreign imports or when domestic jobs move overseas. 

“The benefit of that certification is that the trade adjustment money to an individual worker is more substantial than the regular dislocated worker fund," she said. "It’s just a larger sum of money available to impacted workers."

The state applied for trade adjustment status for all 419 IBM workers who lost their jobs last year, but the federal government said only about one quarter of those jobs qualified.

Noonan said many IBM workers laid off last year have found new jobs.

“We think that they’ve been relatively successful in getting back to work,” she says. “We know that some people went into self-employment and some people retired, but a lot of the folks from that layoff have secured other jobs.”

The layoffs are part of what IBM calls a rebalancing of its workforce in light of the changing nature of its business.

In a statement the company says its workforce has remained stable for three years at more than 400,000 employees worldwide.  IBM says it plans to add hundreds of jobs at facilities in New York State.

The IBM cuts are the second significant layoffs announced in Vermont in recent days.

Last week it was announced that Plasan Carbon Composites in Bennington will move to Michigan, eliminating 143 jobs.