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Layoffs underway at IBM Essex Junction - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Layoffs underway at IBM Essex Junction

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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. -

The latest round of layoffs are underway at IBM in Essex Junction.

Several employees have contacted us about losing their jobs. We spoke with one man who was told this morning his last day on the job will be March 31. He asked us not to use his name for fear he would lose out on his severance package, which he was told would be a week's pay for every six months he has worked there.

The worker told us the news was not surprising to him, and he saw the writing on the wall as a remote worker.

"I'd actually been fully expecting this," he said. "My manager told me almost a year ago that if there was another layoff I would be the first to go."

It's not clear yet exactly what types of jobs are being cut, but workers in manufacturing say they were told line workers would not be cut in this round.

"[IBM] has never been especially communicative, and the idea that they're cutting all these jobs... they've actually announced that they want to have as few workers in the U.S. as possible. So, they're basically turning themselves into a foreign company," the laid off worker told us.

IBM is calling this a resource action. In response to the layoffs, IBM Spokesman Doug Shelton issued a statement that said,

"As reported in our recent earnings briefing, IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients, and to pioneer new, high value segments of the IT industry. To that end, IBM is positioning itself to lead in areas such as Cloud, Analytics and Cognitive Computing and investing in these priority areas. For example, already this year we have committed $1 billion to our new Watson unit and $1.2 billion to expand our Cloud footprint around the world. In addition, just this week IBM announced a $1 billion investment in platform-as-a-service Cloud capabilities, as well as investments in areas such as nanotechnology which will bring hundreds of new jobs to New York State. This also creates new job opportunities at IBM. At any given time, IBM has more than 3,000 job openings in these and other growth areas in the US.
IBM's total workforce has remained stable over the past three years, and IBM now employs more than 400,000 people worldwide."

Sources tell us they expect to see about one-third the number of layoffs in this round as they saw from IBM Essex Junction last summer, when the company cut 419 workers as part of global cutbacks. That would be about 140 employees. The state won't know the exact number until the company files an official notice next month.

IBM had previously announced that more cuts would be coming in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

In a statement, Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, said his administration is again prepared to help laid-off workers find new jobs:

"I have been advised by leadership at the IBM Vermont plant in Essex Junction of layoff notifications there as part of a global workforce reduction. This is difficult news for the affected workers and their families, as well as for the communities that also suffer the impacts of job reductions. I pledge to work with my team to help in every way we can. I understand the number of workers affected in this round of cuts is significantly lower than the last round of reductions, only about one-third the size, although we will not know the exact number of affected workers until the process is completed and a state notice is filed by the company next month. While we never want to hear about employment losses, Vermont has diversified its economy in recent years, with recovery and job growth across many sectors. We also enjoy the 5th lowest unemployment rate in the country -- the lowest rate east of the Mississippi. Companies in Vermont are looking for highly skilled, educated workers like those being affected by this reduction at IBM. We stand ready to offer all of our resources to help find good Vermont job opportunities as soon as possible for those who will face layoffs as quickly as possible."

Alliance@IBM tells WCAX News that in addition to Essex Junction, they are also getting word today of layoffs in Minnesota.

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