GlobalFoundries warns workers of layoffs; unclear if Vermont plant impacted

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:00 PM EST
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - Are job cuts coming to Vermont’s largest private employer? Chipmaker GlobalFoundries sent a memo to employees saying that they will soon downsize their workforce footprint.

GlobalFoundries confirms they are freezing all new hires and are beginning what they call “focused actions” to reduce the size of their workforce. What’s not clear is how many jobs they are cutting, which positions or whether the cuts will happen at their Essex Junction facility.

The state Department of Labor says they have not yet received warning of any layoffs in Vermont.

In a statement, a spokesperson for GlobalFoundries said, " ... On the heels of a strong third quarter with solid fourth quarter guidance, we face rapidly developing uncertainties of the global economy, including inflation, continued elevated energy costs, and rapid interest rate increases that are impacting our industry and GF.”

The challenges GlobalFoundries faces are not unique. They and other chipmakers are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

I spoke with Matt Gallagher, a lecturer at UVM who has worked in the semiconductor industry. He says there has been a huge pandemic demand for products that use chips, like cars, computers and cellphones and that demand is beginning to wane.

“It sounds like now things have bounced and there has been a bit of a correction and the demand has softened,” Gallagher said.

But he adds that car manufacturers will likely keep some of their orders.

This news comes on the heels of a big investment-- $30 million heading Global’s way in federal earmarks to develop the next generation of computer chips. And there’s likely more money on the way thanks to the federal CHIPS Act meant to bolster domestic semiconductor production.

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