It is shaping up to be a tense holiday season at Vermont’s largest private employer.
GlobalFoundries, the international semiconductor company with a large chip factory in Essex Junction, told employees at a staff meeting Thursday morning it would cut up to 800 jobs worldwide in December.
“As part of a recent all-employee meeting, we shared the cost saving actions we are taking across our business in response to the current macroeconomic environment including reducing corporate and manufacturing overhead costs as well as selectively reducing our workforce by less than 800 employees globally before the end of the year,” said Julie Moynehan, a spokesperson for the company, in an email to VTDigger.
Moynehan declined to comment further.
The 800 employees represent 5.7% of GlobalFoundries’ 14,000 employees worldwide.
An employee of the Essex Junction plant who attended the meeting virtually said Tom Caulfield, GlobalFoundries’ chief executive officer, emphasized that most jobs cuts would be in non-manufacturing positions, such as executives.
The employee, who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution for speaking about the company, said the reduction was a “smaller number than what I originally thought.”
“I’m still worried,” the employee said.
Staff members also had the option to attend the meeting in person at GlobalFoundries facilities around the world.
The company has about 2,000 people and 800 contractors working at its Essex Junction plant.
According to the employee, Caulfield did not say how many jobs would be cut in Vermont but said U.S. and Singapore employees would be notified of layoffs next week. Because of Germany’s stricter laws protecting workers, employees there would be notified later, the employee said. The company, based in Malta, New York, has factories in Vermont, New York, Singapore and Germany.
The employee said Caulfield and other executives did not respond to numerous questions about why the company’s recent profits could not be used to preserve jobs.
GlobalFoundries ended its third quarter with a 22% increase in revenues over the previous year. In October, the company announced $30 million in federal funds to develop advanced semiconductors in Essex Junction. That same month, the Vermont Public Utilities Commission approved the company’s request to create its own electric utility in order to save on power bills.
Then, in meetings with Wall Street analysts and employees in recent weeks, Caulfied warned that the company would have to cut costs to prepare for a decline in demand for semiconductors as the world economy slows down and faces a possible recession.
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