Here’s something new: For the first time rumors of big layoffs at IBM are not a big worry for state officials and business and community leaders in Vermont.
For years rumors have often preceded layoffs at IBM and the company’s Essex facility has seen its share of job cuts.
Now new reports may signal another round of IBM layoffs, but there’s none of the usual local anxiety.
That’s because most of the IBM workers are soon to be employed by GlobalFoundries, which is taking over IBM’s chip manufacturing division, including the Essex plant, pending government approval.
This week GlobalFoundries reiterated its pledge to keep current IBM workers on.
"We have made employment offers to all of the current IBM employees who are covered under the terms of our acquisition deal for the Microelectronics Division," a GlobalFoundries spokesman said in an email. "The employment offers will take effect upon the close of the deal, which we expect to happen sometime this year."
Frank Cioffi, president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation says even after the acquisition, as many as several hundred Essex workers will be employed by IBM because of a production agreement with GlobalFoundries.
But Cioffi doubts future IBM layoffs will affect those workers.
“It’s possible but I don’t think it’s probable because the employees that are going to stay on with IBM are going to be ones that have very, very highly sophisticated skills,”he says.
Cioffi says there’s more certainty about the future of the Essex facility now that GlobalFoundries is taking it over.