VPR/Steve Zind

The long-time IBM microelectronics plant in Essex Junction officially belongs to GlobalFoundries.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

If you’re looking for a job, the IBM plant in Essex could be looking for you. On Thursday, the Vermont Department of Labor is holding a job fair in Burlington for IBM.

The company is hiring for about 100 positions that will later be transferred over to GlobalFoundries, the company that’s set to take over IBM’s chip-making division once the deal is finalized. But exactly how long will these jobs stay in Vermont?

An illustration of a hand holding bills of money.
MHJ / iStock

The lawmakers who have taken an oath to represent their constituents are the only ones who vote on legislation, but they’re not the only ones making things happen in the Statehouse every spring – and they’re definitely not the highest-paid.

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.

Steve Zind / VPR

When GlobalFoundries takes over IBM’s semiconductor plant in Essex Junction, employees there will become part of a young company that has grown rapidly in the five years since it was established.

The IBM facilities in Vermont and East Fishkill, New York will join a worldwide network of eight GlobalFoundries fabrication plants, or "fabs," that currently employ more than 13,000 people.

Imagery: Google / Map data: Google

The sale of IBM’s chip making division, including the company’s Essex plant is being scrutinized by federal officials. 

The review is standard where there is foreign ownership of a company that has defense industry contracts. 

IBM has earned a Trusted Foundry designation from the Department of Defense as a secure source of products used in defense and intelligence applications. 

Annie Russell / VPR

Young Vermonters often leave the state in search of higher-paying opportunities in big cities, but increasingly, tech and engineering jobs are available right here.

At Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium, job seekers showed up with resumes in hand, and companies were ready to greet them.

Much has been said about Burlington’s growing tech industry, and nowhere did it seem more robust than the eighth annual Vermont Tech Jam.

Imagery: Google / Map data: Google

The groundwater sitting below IBM’s massive campus in Essex Junction still bears the chemical stains of the plant’s past. The company announced this week its selling the plant , but it still bears responsibility for the clean-up.

The offending compound is called TCE – short for tetrachloroethylene – and back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, IBM used it by the truckload. David Mears, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, says TCE turned out to be toxic stuff.

Matthias Rietschel / AP

"It's been a long summer," says Frank Cioffi of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, referring the long-awaited announcement that IBM is offloading its microchip manufacturing division, which includes the IBM plant in Essex Junction, to GlobalFoundries. We look at why IBM is paying Global Foundries $1.5 billion over three years to take over that business, what it means for employees,  and the impact on the state's economy.

iStock / Thinkstock

The sale of IBM’s chip-making business looks to be good news for the approximately 4,000 Vermont workers employed at the company’s plant in Essex Junction. But the change in ownership will reignite a longstanding debate over whether Vermont is doing enough to retain and grow jobs in the state.

IBM has always been a flashpoint in Vermont politics. It’s a massive employer here, by the standards of this tiny state. And policy makers frequently stop to ask: is Vermont doing enough to keep employers like Big Blue happy?

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The deal between IBM and GlobalFoundries for IBM’s chip manufacturing and sales divisions doesn’t fit the traditional definition of the word “sale.” In a sale, the money goes to one party and some asset or commodity goes to the other.

IBM / Vermont Historical Society

With the announcement Monday morning that IBM is offloading its chip division, including its plant in Essex Junction, to the California-based semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries, we sifted through the archives to find photographs of the plant's early days, IBM products at use in Vermont and beyond, and the shifting fortunes of the company and its local employees through the years.

Here's what the approach to the Essex plant looked like in 1958:

Toby Talbot / AP

IBM’s chip division, including the plant in Essex Junction will be sold to GlobalFoundries, in a deal announced Monday morning.

A deal between the two companies has been rumored for months, but Monday's announcement was the first official confirmation from either company that a deal had been in the works. GlobalFoundries is a semiconductor manufacturer based in Santa Clara, California.

The company rumored to be on the verge of buying IBM’s chip manufacturing business announced Thursday that it has hired a former senior plant executive at an IBM facility in East Fishkill, New York.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Business officials in Chittenden County are calling on Gov. Peter Shumlin to allocate $4.5 million to IBM to avert a sale of the company’s Essex Junction chip making facility.

But Shumlin says it’s too early to release money from the newly created job-retention fund. And he’s left open the door to using the money for purposes other than retaining the approximately 4,000 jobs at the IBM facility.

“I think the good news is that this fund gives the governor and legislative leadership the authority to be flexible, and that’s exactly what we need,” Shumlin said.

Toby Talbot / AP

With reports that IBM may soon sell its chip manufacturing division, Vermont officials and a local commerce group are getting ready to try to keep the division’s jobs in Vermont.

Gov. Peter Shumlin has been reading the widespread reports in the financial press that IBM is going to sell its chip manufacturing division, and he’s concerned.

The division employs more than 4,000 Vermonters at its Essex Junction Plant, and there’s no guarantee that a new buyer would keep that plant open.

But Shumlin is hoping to help the odds.

With the state on what he calls “heightened alert” over the future of IBM’s chip manufacturing plant in Essex Junction, Gov. Peter Shumlin today said he’s prepared to “do whatever it takes” in the fight to preserve the more than 4,000 jobs at stake.

Shumlin’s comments came in advance of a press conference scheduled for later Monday in which the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation is set to unveil a slate of interventions it thinks will help secure the future of the plant.

McQuiston: IBM in VT

Mar 14, 2014

The other day, I was talking with a recently retired engineer from IBM. He had worked at the Essex Junction plant for the better part of his career and was happy he didn’t have to worry about the seemingly constant chatter about the future of the Vermont plant and, indeed, the future of IBM itself. In contrast to current IBM employees, he didn’t seem very concerned. Granted he’s retired, but still…

Sen. Bernie Sanders says more than 300 IBM workers laid off last year at the company’s Vermont facilities are eligible for additional training and employment services.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance is available to workers the U.S. Department of Labor considers displaced by foreign competition or because jobs were moved overseas.

Previously 115 workers who were part of the same round of layoffs had been deemed eligible for the benefits, but the state subsequently requested that all of the former IBM employees qualify for the benefits.

Toby Talbot / AP

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.